Letter From San Francisco

The New Share Economy is Making Us All Better People

(Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — The reputed inventor* of the modern Mission burrito – the Chicano food tube that’s sustained entrepreneurial San Franciscans from the 1849 Gold Rush through both dot com booms, has a problem. Judging by Yelp, the historic Mission eatery has been coasting along more on tradition than taste. Even OG’s aren’t impervious to the brash rules of the review economy, thus a beleaguered La Cumbre rep toils online, addressing their poor reviews one by one. Read More

Baby I Can Drive Your Car

Black Car App Courts Customers By Offering On-Board Tarot Card Readings

Shuffling the tarot cards.

What do you do when you’re a black car service in NYC, and you want to get popular enough to seriously compete with Uber? You tell your riders they can literally have anything they want inside their hired cars.

That was the strategy, at least, for Gett, the upscale rideshare app that debuted in NYC last August. To get their name out there, the company yesterday launched the day-long #GettAnything campaign, which allowed riders to request any and all forms of en-route entertainment — as long as it’s not illegal — and have Gett attempt to fulfill their wildest wishes. Read More

After the Storm

For the Love of God, Someone Hack the Commute

Welcome to gridlock hell. (Instagram/sarahtonein)

The worst of the weather has passed, and it’s time for many New Yorkers to start getting back to work. Only, with the subways and many of the tunnels out of commission, anyone attempting to get from point A to point B is dealing with a traffic disaster unseen since the days when horse-and-buggies clopped their way down Fifth Avenue.

Which is why someone–or hey, multiple someones! Let’s convene a hackathon!–from the tech community needs to step in and hash out a useful service to help us navigate this hot mess. Read More

Sharing is Caring

Zimride Launches in NYC to Make Riding in Cars with Strangers Less Strange

Riding in cars with bros? (Photo: Zimride)

Traveling in the company of strangers has been around since long before Amtrak or those super cheap (and equally as sketchy) Fung Wah buses. Chances are our ancestors had to deal with the hot breath of a Western-bound fur trapper, who looked like he might be coming down with typhoid, along the Oregon Trail–or give up their seat for a pregnant woman on the overbooked Mayflower.

Earlier this week, a new ride-sharing service called Zimride launched in New York and Philadelphia to make carpooling with strangers a little more friendly. The service, which requires you to log in using Facebook, lets users sell a seat in their car or bus. Drivers can determine the amount they want per seat, which gives them a chance to split the cost of gas. Members can search by time of departure and destination. But the defining feature are user profiles that import limited personal details Facebook, like the kind of music or sports you like, along with a profile pic, to help people find a better road trip or commuter companion. Read More