Flip the Switch Episode 32: Bike Sharing

John Saunders
By John Saunders

SOPHIA: Today on Flip the Switch. Facebook’s fearless leader Zuckerberg has his day in congress. A monumental moment for all tech companies as we continue to debate data usage. 

 

Apple’s new HomePod is already blowing it. And Walmart just added a month back to your life, and you didn’t even know it. 

 

Our main discussion today is about the hottest new trend hitting our streets–bike sharing. The guys discuss where companies like Bird and LimeBike came from and what their future holds in our society. 

 

We close with Book Club. Let’s get into it. 

 

00:57 AUSTIN: Welcome to Flip the Switch, presented by Power Digital Marketing. We’re really excited to have you on today. This is episode number 32.

 

01:05 PAT: Episode 32. Our Magic Johnson, episode. 

 

01:09 JOHN: Oh I was going to go with Shaq. 

 

01:08 PAT: Is that what we decided? Shaquille O’Neil was 32 when he was one the Heat, right? So…

 

01:12 AUSTIN: So we gotta go with the OG.

 

01:13 PAT: We’ll go with the OG. But again, not a sports podcast. Business podcast. 

 

01:18 AUSTIN: Business podcast. And for today we do have business indeed. And we’re going to be starting with the biggest news that everybody’s chatting about. Mark Zuckerberg’s big day in Congress. 

 

01:28 PAT: Yeah, so Mark Zuckerberg went to Congress the other day and did his best human being impression. So for anybody that watched what happened, that was one of the most uncomfortable sequences of questioning I think I’ve ever seen in my life. 

 

01:41 AUSTIN: Yeah, his just complete inability to be human and have a personality really was showcased on the floor. I think for one, he was petrified. Obviously this is a very terrifying moment for a big company. And of course, everyone’s looking at you and you’re in front of Congress. So you don’t know exactly what the implications will be. 

 

But still, the way it came off for me it was more of a slap on the wrist. Or some sort of moment to really glorify that they’re putting him in front of the people. But less of what’s really going to happen. Is there going to be any sort of outcome to this issue? 

 

02:14 PAT: Right. Is there any kind of real consequence that’ll actually come from it? I found that the most interesting thing about the testimonial that he gave wasn’t so much the statement that he gave–because it’s what everybo0dy expected. “We take responsibility for this. Here are the measures that we’re putting in place moving forward to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

 

I just thought that it was really funny when the Senators were questioning him. They have little to no idea how Facebook works. Like if there’s somebody that’s supposed to be interrogating a tech genius about whether or not his platform compromised personal data and allowed for that–wouldn’t you want it to be somebody that understands technology?

 

Some of the questions were like, “Yeah, so if I Google Facebook, can you get my data that way?”

 

And Mark Zuckerberg would literally say “Can you please repeat the question? I’m not sure I understand.”

 

03:09 AUSTIN: “Well, we aren’t Google. So no.

 

03:11 PAT: So no. 

 

03:12 AUSTIN: Anything… I understand where you’re coming from with this. There’s just a massive disconnect between those who run our country and those that are currently making the country successful I guess you could say. These massive tech companies really hold a lot of leverage in this current day and age, in our society. One, through the stock market. They control a lot of the way the NASDAQ runs. A lot is tethered to that up and down. 

 

And then of course with our data usage. And then just generating a lot of revenue and profit for our current economy. Jobs and so on and so forth. 

 

With that being said, with their quick rise there’s just not a lot of checks put in place to make certain things like data usage much more… much better thought out. Much better for the people of America to be more protected. 

 

That was showcased, I think, extravagantly by Congress’ inability to really come up with a solution to this plan. And more so just point the finger at him. 

 

04:06 PAT: Yeah. And it wasn’t even so much point the finger. It felt like they were just trying to even understand what had happened. And even then Zuckerberg did a good job of deflecting in a sense, but just taking responsibility. Saying “Yes, we have a responsibility that we need to adhere to more closely to protect people’s data.” 

 

And then here’s a few ways that he talked about in his opening statement that they’re going to be doing that. That we thought were interesting.

 

Number 1) they’re going to remove developer access to your data. If you haven’t used that app in 3 months. So it’ll auto-opt you out. That way you’re not being mined for data by apps that you don’t even remember agreeing to sign up for. 

 

They’re also reducing the data that you give in an app when you approve it. So it can only be your name, profile, photo and email address. That’s a lot less than other apps or any other major app platform according to Mark Zuckerberg. So we’ll see about that.

 

They’re also requiring developers to not only get approval but to sign a contract that imposes strict requirements in order to ask anyone for access to their posts. So that’s actually going through their content and running kind of like a sentiment analysis to see what type of person they are. As opposed to just quantifying it based on profile data. 

 

So I think that one’s pretty big. And that was really kind of what ended up sparking a lot of the Cambridge Analytica news–was that they were going through messages. They were going through your posts. They were going through these aspects of your profile that are qualitative as opposed to quantitative and correlating it with the right data to put the right political ads in front of you

 

05:32 AUSTIN: They were making a look-alike audience for human beings not to be served… they were being served ads, but not for the purpose of selling a product. More so to influence their political beliefs and try to force some sort of sentiment down their throat. Which of course, is not what we want. 

 

But speaking of ads, and of course with Zuckerberg, the big thing here is how they generate revenue is through their ad network. So that was on display as well. Quote from him “We think offering an ad supported service is most aligned with our mission of trying to connect with everyone.”

 

Right there, it’s just… I immediately pull back and I don’t agree with him. The mission of Facebook is to serve ads to connect everyone? That in itself just seems like a great work-around of saying “we’re not going to stop doing it.” “We’re not going to stop doing it. I’m not going to stop mining your data. I’m not going to stop taking information from you, because it’s how I make money. I sell your data to ad companies, or to any companies so they can put ads on my website so then I make money and they make money.”

 

06:36 PAT: Yeah, exactly. And I think that that’s not… it’s not that I… well I do disagree that that’s the mission. I agree with you there. I do think that it’s… now Facebook advertising has like a little bit of that stigma around it. And it’s not going to be that way.

 

It was fine for a while. It was just like recently there was these massive data breaches. But I do think that it’s really useful and easy way to not only for advertisers… but as a consumer I see things that I like all the time through the ads there. So I do agree with him a little bit.

 

I think the biggest concern from the Congressional side of the equation was just that they’re in a little bit of a bind. They don’t want to infringe on 1st amendment rights. They don’t want to infringe on Silicon Valley innovation. Because, like we said, it stimulated a lot of the economy. Especially the NASDAQ.

 

But they’re also unsure how to regulate this new breed of company. They’re unsure on how to regulate a Facebook, an Instagram a YouTube. Anything like that. So that’s what they’re really working through right now, and really I think the first thing that we identified is they need to gain a greater understanding of how these platforms work, before they try to impose rules and regulations on them.

 

07:45 AUSTIN: And it doesn’t look like it’s going to affect Daily User Activity very much, which is great for stakeholders. So according to Facebook they said about 15%. “We found that 15% of Facebook users polled will decrease in some capacity.” That’s not very black and white but still an indication that most people don’t care. It’s pretty much what they took away from trying to talk to people that use their product. And people are just going to go on with their lives.

 

We already talked about this last episode. Facebook is such a big part of people’s lives already that they’re not going to let go of it simply because they now know that someone else has their data. 

 

We’ve gone too far. 

 

08:25 PAT: We’re bought in at this point. We’re dug in and I’m not going to change. 

 

08:31 AUSTIN: And in 20 years we’re going to have a bunch of data on how this is an addiction. 

 

08:32 PAT: We’ll do a recap episode. Episode what 532 or something?

 

08:38 AUSTIN: Yeah. 5309. All right. Super-interesting stuff. I think now’s probably a pretty good time to buy Facebook stock. They came out pretty good. They’ve had a little bit of a drop today, but during the hearing and post-hearing they’ve done fine. They’ve sustained. 

 

So very, very attractive buy at the moment.

 

08:55 PAT: Exactly. All right guys. 

 

Moving into something that was not as attractive of a buy. Apple HomePod. So this was something that we talked about a lot. Especially with the emergence of in-home applications and AI that are supposed to kind of help you with your daily life. 

 

Apple’s HomePod was the newest one on the market. So there were 2 other main ones–or three other main ones. There was obviously Amazon Alexa/Echo. There was the Microsoft–I think it was run on Cortana but I forget what the actual name of that was. And then Google Home.

 

09:24 AUSTIN: Google Home and then the lesser known Sonos One. 

 

09:28 PAT: Right. Okay. 

 

09:29 AUSTIN: So really it’s just Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

 

09:31 PAT: Exactly. And so Apple tries to get into this space, right? They’re selling their product at an Apple price-point. 349 dollars when you can buy an Amazon Alexa for 99 dollars.

 

We talked about this on the show. We said, “I don’t think that Apple is going to make waves with this. They’re going into a saturated market with an AI that’s less sophisticated that Amazon Alexa or Google Home.”

 

Lo and behold, we were kind of right, again.

 

09:55 AUSTIN: Yeah. It looks like sales have been very weak. Pre-sale was good. They thought they’d gauged some good initial influence from their audience. The people that love Apple seem to be interested in taking part in this current product.

 

But once it hit retail, it’s not doing that well. It looks like it’s just gathered about 10% of the smart-speaker market. They expected to have a much larger share. Specifically because there is only about 2 to 3 big players. There’s 4 to 5 total in the market. And Amazon Echo–73% of the market. They still have pretty much all of it. It’s kinda like how Apple is with their Smartphone device, just flip-flopped. 

 

10:34 PAT: yeah, totally, because that’s… so they had 10% of the smart-speaker market in their first 10 weeks of sales. And since that time they have slipped to only about 4% of the market. And it doesn’t look like there’s really any end in sight. The shares for Apple gained 1.4% to 173 dollars in early trading. I think that was earlier yesterday.

 

But I think that as… cause this is really the first quarter that this has been out. Right? So there was Q1 earnings, Q2 earnings is really going to be a big milestone because that is really going to showcase the market viability for this. And I think that we’re going to see Apple’s stock take a little bit pf a slide at that time.

 

11:19 AUSTIN: I think so. Because you’ve got to think about the bigger picture here, and if you’re a shareholder and you’re investing in a company and you wonder about how a company generates revenue. And the idea is they need to continue to innovate. They need to come out with new products that’s going to continue to grow that revenue stream long term. And when they put out a product that really just flops, they don’t have a lot of disparity in the market. They’re really just a mobile phone company. 

 

Of course, they do have their computers, which are great. I think we all really like them, but in terms of the total market share, that’s also not a big product. So it still is just the phone. 

 

It’s just the phone. And they’re showing that again when they can’t put out a product to compete with the current smart-speaker market. It just flops and right away, you just wonder “what are you doing with a price-point $200 more than the current market value?” The average market value at the retail price?

 

12:15 PAT: Right. And what are you getting for that extra $200? Nothing.

 

12:17 AUSTIN: You’re charging a premium expecting people to just attach that to just the Apple name and Apple brand. But they clearly didn’t do a market analysis. Saying that won’t work here. This clearly won’t work. 

 

People are not interested in Apple coming into a market and simply just being Apple. 

 

12:29 PAT: You know the thing that I think is so funny about this too is they really banked on their loyal customer base. “Okay, we’re going to put the Apple logo on it, so we can forecast this many sales.”

 

And I’d bet money that the pre-sale numbers were good. But here’s a huge mistake that they made too. They missed their release date in December. They missed the holiday season entirely. 

 

How are you supposed to get enough of a critical mass of people to buy your product and see if it’s viable, so that you know whether or not you’re supposed to iterate on it if you don’t…? You’re releasing it at a poor time of the year. They released it in January.

 

13:05 AUSTIN: And you can expect that the people doing the pre-sale were expecting to have this by Christmas. They probably were either getting this for gifts for their family or just themselves during that time. So that in itself probably the interest immediately. When you’re missing a big date like that.

 

Which isn’t very Apple-like. They’re very on schedule typically. So I think for them, they’ll just probably put this as a low-performing product and not try to put a lot of marketing budget behind it, because they’re seeing that it’s not performing that great in the market. So as always, just shifting back over to the phone.

 

13:37 PAT: Yup. Exactly. Cool.

 

Moving into the last piece of business news here. So we talked about it a little bit in the intro, but Walmart just added a month to your life even if you do not shop there.

 

13:47 AUSTIN: Wow. Yeah. So you’re probably wondering what that means. And it’s actually not as exciting as you think.

 

13:52 PAT: It was cryptic. We drew you in.

 

13:53 AUSTIN: Yeah, that’s the point right? We have to be a little bit click-baity sometimes.

 

13:57 JOE: Yeah, it’s just click-bait. That’s all you guys do.

 

14:01 PAT: “Click here to find out how…” 

 

14:02 AUSTIN: Anyways. What they’re doing is they’re really cutting down on the checkout time. So you don’t have to sign anymore at checkout for the big credit card companies like Visa. So they have worked with Visa and companies like Walmart and Target are going to be rolling this out. They probably already have in some locations where there’s just no more signature.

 

14:21 PAT: Do you think that they’re trying to mimic a retail version of the one-click checkout from Amazon?

 

14:25 AUSTIN: I think you’re onto something, Patrick. Great insight. Jeff Bezos and Patrick are basically synonymous. 

 

14:31 PAT: Yeah, we talk frequently. Just kidding.

 

Well this follows a trend that we’ve talked about. For a long time now, Walmart has really done a lot to try to pull best practices from Amazon and employ them themselves. They included all of their inventory on Google Home so that you can order it directly from your in-home, smart-speaker appliance. Just like you can do for Amazon Prime on Amazon Alexa. 

 

They started selling a lot more of their product online to limit some of that overhead cost. And now we’re seeing they’re even pulling in some online best practices into the retail space. It’s like… people like ease of convenience. They like being able to find what they want and getting out easily. Nobody likes standing in line at the store for 20 minutes. Running your credit card. Doing your signature. Having to make small-talk with the cashier.

 

15:24 AUSTIN: I think it’s just really interesting that as people, as consumers we’ve got to this point we’re so lazy we don’t even want to sign anymore. But that is what the current state is of a consumer. So if you’re a retailer you need to adapt to this, and continue to improve on every single process that is affecting your company.

 

So we always talk about this and every single part of a company is the brand. So regardless of if that’s the checkout. Regardless of if that’s the bag that you’re putting your stuff in that you bought. How the people treat you in the store… it’s all part of the company brand. 

 

So you want to associate your brand with ease, enjoyment, and just simplicity of course. Those are big 3 components of a great brand these days. So they’re continuing to iterate on this and make their process a bit smoother. This was in Inc. magazine by the way, where we pulled this and they did some quick math which was funny to show that you’d get an additional 36 workdays back in your life by not having to sign a signature. 

 

Which is obviously saying that you go there a lot. Taking that into consideration. So if you do go to Walmart a lot, you’re pretty pumped right now But we just thought it was a funny little article and definitely interesting about how brands are just continuing to simplify the way that we live.

 

16:42 PAT: And the last thing that I would say too–or at least something that I want to pay attention to with this–I wonder with less steps of confirmation whether or not Walmart point-of-sale might be open to some kind of fraud or breach as well. We’ve seen that be a huge trend with some huge companies. I know that just last week we talked about Facebook, but in that time YouTube has been implicated in illegally scraping kid related data. Then you had Sears, Delta Airlines, Panera Bread. Under Armor.

 

So I think that no one is immune to this. And yeah, this is different than online. You can’t get as much user data from point-of-sale as you can from somebody’s online activity. 

 

But at the same time, as a consumer I’d be a little bit hesitant to not sign off when I use my credit card, because then it’s kind of like what about the entire verification process? Why?

 

I just think that this is something we’re going to need to pay attention to. And that we’ll bring back to you guys as good content down the line.

 

All right, you guys. Main topic discussion for today. So news came out this past week that Uber acquired a bike sharing start-up called “Jump” for what is now an undisclosed amount of money. And when we were talking about this, we originally just wanted to have this be business news and trend piece that we discuss. But I realized and I think Austin did too, that there’s a lot more to talk about here.

 

We’re seeing not only ride sharing apps perform very well. But bike sharing. So there’s LimeBike, Bird, this other company Jump. And we really want to dive in and understand what the appeal is and how these businesses work a little bit. 

 

18:19 AUSTIN: Yeah, I think everybody’s pretty excited about the bike-sharing world that’s coming into play now. And just the big influence it’s having already, just on our streets.

 

So it is really, really exciting. And also really interesting how it came about. So I think a lot of people don’t understand that these… this isn’t a new concept. So China was the first to market with kind of this idea. It’s also happening in India. 

 

But there’s a big company called OFO… I think it’s ofo or however you pronounce it. But they’re a Chinese company and they’ve been doing this for a while.

 

So you might also see their bikes on our streets. They’re yellow with black lettering. And I think it was about a year ago that bike-sharing really took off in China. So that was their first real market research companies for these companies to see if it would work. 

 

And there was about 12 of them that really took to the market and flooded the streets. And they worked well. There’s a lot of excess there, but there are a lot of people riding it. And we can get into that a little bit more. 

 

I think we more so want to focus on that was the origination and then now we’ve moved into LimeBike and Bird. 

 

19:21 PAT: Yeah. And I think that… so to backtrack a little bit. The concept behind these bike-sharing or ride-sharing companies is you don’t need to own a bike. You don’t need to own a scooter. If you see one of these bikes or scooters hanging around, there’s basically like a QR code. So you just download the app, scan the code, and then you pay a rate for how much you want to ride it. 

 

And I think that the reason that this was so appealing in a place like China and why it has expanded to the US in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and a few others is because it’s easier than owning a car. It’s easier than owning and getting around in a city like that in a car. 

 

And also you don’t have to front a $300, whatever, cost for a nice bike… like a road bike or something when you can easily just pay $4 to take it from your house to work, right?

 

20:15 AUSTIN: That’s the big one. Is how cheap it is. So you can spend I think it’s around a dollar for 2 miles or 3 miles. Right around there. And it’s incredibly cheap. And then, of course, I think the great thing about it too is it’s creating more of a community aspect, so there’s much more interaction with those around you, because you’re no longer in your car. You’re more so on the streets. 

 

And then there’s, of course, the environmental factor which is great. And I think gets people excited as well. 

 

But there’s a lot of money behind this. Lot of big money, and of course, it’s coming from Silicon Valley and China. So I know LimeBike was one that came out, had 50 million dollars in funding from some VCs out in Silicon Valley. So the money is there and this is a big land grab at the moment between companies like Lime, Bird and OFO to see who’s going to get the biggest market share. And who’s going to become the brand that people associate with. Just as we talked about with phones and Apple. And Uber with ride-sharing…

 

21:13 PAT: People say I’m going to Uber somewhere and they’ll still Lyft…

 

21:15 AUSTIN: So is it going to be “Am I going to Bird?” Is it going to be, “I’m grabbing a Lime?” What’s it going to be?

 

21:20 PAT: Am I grabbing a Lime. I think it’s going to be Bird. I think it just sounds better too. Like, “Yeah, I’m going to Bird over there.” I’ve heard my friends start to say that even just around the San Diego area, and I know that it’s even bigger up in Northern California…

 

21:31 AUSTIN: San Francisco and in Los Angeles. My one qualm with Bird is that you have to take a picture of your license to make it work. Whereas with LimeBike you don’t have to do that. And at night, it wouldn’t work. So they have a when you go to scan the QR code, you can take a picture on your phone, and it still wouldn’t work.

 

So I think that they have some… Of course, they have some little technical things that they need to work out to move past that. 

 

But I do agree with you. I think Bird is the one that people are most associating with in San Diego at the moment. Specifically in Pacific Beach which is where a lot of them are. And it’s exciting because they’ve really got in with the youth movement, right? If you’re target market for them is in the 20s… early 20s. People that are skirting around town that have probably more time or are just going back and forth between bars or in their friends’ houses…

 

22:23 PAT: Skirting around town. I like that. I also think something that’s important to note is that it’s… they’re also targeting Smartphone users who consistently download apps on their phone. Somebody that can easily justify going, “Oh yeah, we just need to get the app and I can ride this thing?” Boom. Done.

 

Right? So that’s another aspect of why it’s appealing to a young market. And I think that they’re doing a good job of positioning themselves the right way. They’re like, “don’t pay for a car. Don’t pay for your own electric scooter. Use ours for rate whenever you need it. It’s here when you want it. And it’s good for the environment, also.”

 

All that bundled together is just like a Millennial’s dream, you know?

 

22:56 AUSTIN: So I think on the environmental topic too. I do want to go back to this a little bit, because it’s really exciting. And I think we can talk about the market positioning and then, of course, where they’re going. 

 

But a big question that I had immediately is what’s going to happen when 1) it rains and 2) people don’t want to use these anymore. And I think in China since they are a year older and Joe Hollerup was the one that sent us this article. There’s an extreme amount of excess now. People are maybe not as excited or they’re just simply over supplied the market and there’s just bikes laying everywhere. Right? 

 

There’s big fields, big piles… there’s a lot of pictures. We had an article in “The Atlantic”…

 

23:37 PAT: I’m looking at that right now. It’s actually pretty shocking. 

 

23:38 AUSTIN: It’s very shocking. So it’s massive fields of bikes. It’s massive piles of bikes. Extremely high like a trash dump, but they’re all OFOs and LimeBike type of companies, so I think that worries me as well. 

 

Because we don’t have enough data to say…

 

23:55 PAT: That there’s a long-term need for it yet. 

 

23:57 AUSTIN: Absolutely. So are we going to be oversupplying the market? And is this not going to be interesting in a year from now? And then now we just have all this excess waste. 

 

24:04 PAT: So my take on that entire thing is I agree with you. And I think that that’s something that should be a concern. 

 

I don’t think that we’re going to run into the oversupply problem that we have in China. And the reason why is because if you look at it, a lot of these bikes and scooters are manufactured there. 

 

So they’re just manufacturing them and putting them out, because it’s easy. They don’t have to ship overseas. They don’t have to do anything that would add cost. 

 

In the United States, they’re getting this product from China. So they’re ordering for the inventory that they know they need… or the demand that they know that they need to supply. So I think that that’s one thing to think about. 

 

Another thing to think about too, is as far as environmental consciousness goes… and that being a little bit of a USP for all of these companies… I think that we’re more conscious of that here, than China is. And that’s a big generalization, but we’ve seen that again and again with their economic, fiscal policy. 

 

You think about smog emission levels. I think that here people really feel like they can make a difference. If everybody were to come together and ride electric vehicles around. Whereas in China it’s a drop in the bucket. There’s so much damage being done to the environment already that I bet people are getting a little discouraged by that too. 

 

25:17 AUSTIN: Yeah, I don’t think you’re wrong there for sure. And hopefully people are aware of the implications of having excess bikes laying around. I hope that some people have read this article, or the companies that produce these like Bird and Lime are aware that we need to be careful. Cause I know just in downtown San Diego, just with the homeless population… they take the bikes, they use them for their wants. They turn them into scrap or it becomes their trash. 

 

So there is a little bit of that side of it. And I think it is also really cool because you’re trusting humans to do the right thing, right? If you’re putting a product just on the street, laying on the street, you’re expecting that the majority of the time people will use them the way that they were built to be used. So that in itself I think, is an exciting moment for humans as we enter into a new age of sharing. 

 

Ride sharing, Bike-sharing and just that sentiment that this is for everyone and not just mine. 

 

26:08 PAT: Yeah, exactly. And I think that that’s really what it hits on too. It’s almost like the neighborhood–like take-a-book, leave-a-book boxes that you’ve seen around San Diego? It’s kind of that. It’s like somebody left a Bird right outside of my house. So I’m going to ride it and I’m going to leave it somewhere in good shape just like I found it. 

 

So I think there’s that goodwill nature of it too. And that’s kind of like the internal gratification that people get from riding around on it. And it definitely makes sense. 

 

It think it’s interesting though, to see how much traction they have gotten. So looking at this article, Bird had 15 million dollars in funding so that it can expand across the United States. Now that it’s had a couple test markets in Santa Monica, San Francisco, San Diego. 

 

The company has 50,000 active users and has seen over a quarter million rides on its platform already. And this article that I’m referencing was actually published a couple months ago… like, February. And that was before it even came to my attention. So I’d venture to say those numbers are much higher. I’d say they’re probably around 150,000 active users at the minimum. Maybe more. 

 

27:13 AUSTIN: It was very easy for it to start becoming part of San Diego life. In my opinion… of course, I see people riding them every day. And it didn’t really seem like anyone batted and eye. It was almost like they expected these ride-sharing vehicles just to be there. And the scooters are the big hit. I think the bikes are great, but the scooters have really been the thing that everyone truly loves. 

 

Because you hop on it. You’re going faster at your destination. It’s fun, it’s cool. It’s electric, right? You’re not hurting the environment. So that in itself is very interesting to me too. I think they really are on to something and this can be a long-term viable product. Simply because it integrated with our current society. How we function as humans very easily.

 

27:52 PAT: Yup. The only detriment that I see to it is that I see a lot of potential for injury. So from a company perspective, I see a lot of potential liability. 

 

And as Terms and Conditions need to become clearer and clearer to people, because of everything that has happened in the tech space over the last couple of months, I think they might open themselves up to a little bit of liability if they don’t change their Ts and Cs around in a way that people can understand them.

 

Like think about it. Very small example, but I’m sure this is happening to a good amount of people in San Diego. I was trying to back out of my driveway, I’m going slowly. A herd of like 5 Birds flying down the sidewalk. These people clearly don’t know how to use this machine, right? They need to like swerve out of the way of my car. Pretty aggressively. Somebody actually like, burnt out into our driveway a little bit. 

 

And I was just thinking to myself, “There actually isn’t anything that certifies you to ride this vehicle.” Other than your driver’s license. And it’s not a one-to-one. It’s not the same thing. 

 

28:53 AUSTIN: Yeah, and Bird’s the only one that requires a driver’s license. 

 

28:55 PAT: Exactly. So what does that…? For the longevity of these companies I think that that’s something they need to be very conscious of too. They’re opening themselves up to a lot of potential liability and they need to find a way… I think, in the long-term to be able to account for that.

 

29:08 AUSTIN: And helmet tickets. A lot of people have gotten helmet tickets. 

 

29:12 PAT: Tons of people. And it’s like, what? Are you supposed to bring your own helmet? 

 

29:14 AUSTIN: Yeah, they say that via the app you can get a free helmet somewhere…

 

29:19 PAT: How are you supposed to get there? Bird? 

 

29:21 AUSTIN: That’s right. I got a Bird to go pick up my Bird helmet.

 

29:22 PAT: Little bit of a Catch-22 scenario isn’t it?

 

29:26 AUSTIN: This is heavily influenced by Uber. Bird has a lot of Uber ex-employees. So you can expect them to take a very similar business model approach, which they have. 

 

And then I think both of us are expecting this to go well. I’m still very curious to see how they work out the little details. I think if there’s a colossal mishap or continued mishaps like injuries, tickets and just overall negative press, this could really hurt the companies. 

 

But for now, they are in a good position.

 

29:54 PAT: Totally agree. I think this is just another great example of technology integrating with our day-to-day. It’s been good so far, but again, a lot to be seen. 

 

30:01 AUSTIN: Go ride one. 

 

All right, everybody. To conclude the show today we wanted to do something a little bit more fun. We’re having our book club. We’ve done this once before. We’ve got a few books that all of us are currently reading or have enjoyed in the past, so I think I’ll go ahead and start it off. 

 

I’m talking about Tim Ferris’ most recent book “Tools of Titans.” I’ve really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. It’s very important if you’re looking to be successful in the business setting. I think a lot of it is about combating peer pressure is a pretty big part of it. And then, of course, formulating a path for health, wealth and wisdom. Those are another big key points. And then creativity. 

 

The creative aspect of itis something that he talks about with a lot of very successful people in that they’ve experienced the things that allow them to be creative. So the biggest thing in taking away is just simply having life experiences so that your mind can have places to expand in. If you go to the same place every day at the same time for 20 years, you’re really not going to have the ability to think outside the box, because your mind hasn’t experienced a lot of different elements.

 

So I think that’s really important to understand, because it can be scary or fear-driving to not want to change the way you do things. And not keep going to the same place because it’s safe. 

 

But if you really want to grow as a person. And then, of course, as someone in business. You really need to change your setting. You really need to change who you’re talking to. Who you’re interacting with. And continuing to evolve and experience new things, so that your mind can continue to become creative. 

 

That was I think, very enlightening for me to think about. Because maybe after work, you’re sitting there, “I don’t want to go do X, Y and Z.” But if you do take that extra hour to go meet with someone else. Or go to that new place where you’re meeting new people it could have a profound effect on the way you function outside of work. 

 

So definitely something to think about there. Check that book out. Tim Ferris’ “Tools of Titans.”

 

32:07 JOHN: Mine is along the same page as that. Mine’s called “Outside, Insight: Navigating a World Drowning in Data.” And I’m gonna botch the name here by Jorn Lyseggen. I tried. 

 

But it’s this guy he’s a CEO of a media intelligence company called “Meltwater.” And he talks about how companies and leaders of companies are too focused on the internal data that they have. And how they’re performing. In the past. And focusing too much on that. 

 

Where just a simple shift to external information talking about your competitors, Looking about things that are outside of your internal data. Not just your performance. Actually opens you up and can help you be more strategic. Have forward thinking decisions. And really get you ahead of your competition. 

 

So I think, in the same note, it’s going outside the box, thinking about things around you. Rather than what you have inside. 

 

33:03 AUSTIN: Looking at competitors is probably one of the most important jobs… one of the most important things about my job as an SEO and I have this wonderful tool Google where I can see who’s ranking where. Ahead of my clients, or ahead of the search result that I want. So without that data… without the competitive data… you can’t be successful. And I think that’s the point of this book is internal affairs are of course important. 

 

But look what everyone else is doing. If you’re completely off the cuff and not resonating with your current audience then you’re going to lose. 

 

33:37 JOHN: Yeah. 

 

33:37 JOE: My book is the “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” by Jordan B. Peterson. And this book is about kind of just how you should and could be conducting yourself and thinking about yourself in a way that is more beneficial to you. Thinking about your potential. He does it in a very kind of funny and anecdotal way. But also in a ways that’s kind of just no bullshit. Gets right to it. Isn’t very… not necessarily kind about it. 

 

But it’s more so just about getting your life together. Seeing your future and seeing the way you should be treated and it’s more so if you want to be treated or seen as a certain way, you’ve gotta act a certain way. And believe in that.

 

And I’m just a huge fan of Jordan Peterson. And this book is so good I bought it twice. I bought the hardcover version, and then I also bought it on Audible. So…

 

34:36 AUSTIN: He’s a bit of a controversial character, right? Jordan Peterson’s become…

 

34:39 JOE: Yeah. He’s been shaking things up a little bit. 

 

34:41 AUSTIN: It’s just his idea of life and how to function as a human is pretty different from a lot of the way society functions right now.

 

34:48 JOHN: He compare a lot of things to science too. And how things in nature interact with each other. Or how they behave. And then linking that back to human behavior and how some things are just not consistent nowadays and that’s the most intriguing part for me about the book. 

 

35:07 AUSTIN: What’s probably… if you can summarize… the biggest takeaway from reading that book that’s affected your life or resonates with you?

 

35:14 JOE: It’s more so you gotta stop seeing the bad or the issues or kind of the things that are holding you back and dwell on them. Because it’s a lot easier to dwell on the negative things and get consumed by them. And so it’s more so his retaliation to this kind of victim mentality that a lot of society or people have kind of been taking in this day and age. And it’s more so like, “Enough of this. Stop playing the victim. If you want to act like a victim, you’re going to get treated like a victim.”

 

For instance, the first chapter is “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.” and it’s all about the way you present yourself, the way you act, and it’s more so just because you tell yourself that’s not something you can do that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. It’s maybe something somebody else has told you or treated you in that way. 

 

And so it’s just more so kind of like a motivational way to kind of kick your ass into gear. And get going. And yeah, he is very controversial. But I think it’s good. I think he’s a good voice of reason in a very interesting time that we’re in right now.

 

And I definitely recommend it. I like having it on Audible. It’s read by him on Audible. And so if I’m just driving or doing stuff around my house, I’ll just throw it in. 

 

36:28 AUSTIN: Audiobooks are big. IN San Diego we drive a lot. So it works very well for our lifestyle.

 

36:33 JOE: I personally am not a big fan of audiobooks, in general. Based off the things that I normally like to read. But in this instance it’s really good. Cause it’s nice to hear it from him as well. 

 

36:44 AUSTIN: Yeah. Definitely. This is a self-help book to a degree, so I think that works. 

 

Yeah, thanks guys Also, just one final note. “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. I think that’s how you say his name. Is awesome. So that’s not a business book, but the play “Alexander Hamilton” was based on the book “Alexander Hamilton.” He’s a very prolific figure in our democracy and the birth of the United States. You guys should check that out. It’s rich with history. 

 

All right. Also on that note, this concludes our show for today. We thank you all for joining us. Have you joined our forum yet? I know you haven’t, that person listening right now. Logon to Facebook. Type in Flip the Switch forum” and you will see it show up. Request access. I will approve you. You can join in on the conversation. We’re posting articles every day. 

 

Pretty much every single day we’re posting articles so you can come to your friends with all that great information and be smarter than them. Isn’t that the reason you listen to this podcast? To be smarter than your friends?

 

It’s the reason I show up every day, so I can be smarter than Pat. 

 

So thank you all again for listening. It’s been a wonderful episode. This is Joe, John, Austin and Patrick signing off.

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John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.