Mobility, Technology

Suddenly my dinner appointment was blow out, still I had to take Uber from my office to home, since I came to the office by Uber.. (Recently Japanese companies oblige employees to take Uber when they drink even a bit)

普通のタクシーより安いとはいえ、そこそこコストはかかります。SunnyvaleからSanta Claraで$15とか。。 なので、帰りはお金の節約のためにUber Pool(相乗りUber)にしました。
Although it is cheaper than normal taxi, it cost me to take Uber. $15 from Sunnyvale to Santa Clara. Thus, I took Uber Pool to go back home.

Pool is nearly as half as the cost of UberX!
It takes more time for them to calculate estimated pickup time
This is as usual as normal Uber before a pickup
Before arriving home, the Uber driver would stop two spots including co-riders’ pickups and drop-offs
Usually it takes 15 mins, thus additional 5 mins, but it is not a big deal

A problem occurred right after I got picked up.

アプリ上、「Pickup Mahesh」と書いてありますが、僕は「Masashi」です。
The app says “Pickup Mahesh”, but I am Masashi. I checked my profile again and it was for sure Masashi. A glitch in the app.

But in the next pickup point, I was greeted by Indian Mahesh. Confusing. But it was not a bug..

とにかく、似た名前の人の話はちょっとした小話ですが、①相乗りのアルゴリズムを見事実装して ②ルート計算にちょっと時間がかかるものの ③実用的にぜんぜん問題ないレベルで市場投入して ④利用料を大幅に削減することで ⑤人々の役に立っている というところが素晴らしいです。
All in all, aside from having a similar name co-rider, 1. implementing a pool ride algorithm beautifully 2. although route calculation takes a bit of time 3. the UX of using pool ride is good 4. and by reducing the cost of ride significantly 5. serving people’s daily life are really awesome.

In Silicon Valley, there are a lot of talks about startups which exited with ultra high valuation, B2C app buzzed just temporarily with mediocre technology and so on and so forth to make a kind of fad all the time.
However, whenever I see technologies and software which used by normal people in everyday life, I feel the real power of technology.

IoT, Technology

Sometimes I would like to charge my iPhone while I’m away from home/office. At Starbucks, they enabled it with a smart way.

The charger is at the bottom right. The point is it is embedded in the desk so that it doesn’t hinder visitors to drink coffee with a mug, to eat something with a plate and to use PC or smartphone on the table. This charging equipment is embedded in almost half of the tables there.

This was made possible with a technology called “Qi” (pronounced as “chi”) and it is supported from 8 in the case of iPhone. I wondered long time if it would prevail in the market, but now it seems like it overcame the chasm. (Although I wouldn’t think it is very popular yet)

You got to be careful for two things. One is that you have to take off a magnet from your smart phone. See the caution below;


My second caution for this is that (because Americans are not as attentive as Japanese people) tables in Starbucks are not charged or plugged in. For the Starbucks shop I went the other day in Mountain View, almost half of the table was not chargeable and only the table plugged to the outlet was ready to use.

Below I put some screen capture of the “Powermat” app.

So far in the tutorial, we can know their one of revenue stream is location ad.

After installing the app, you can charge your smartphone from it as below.

Now you see the green pie chart−ish thing at the bottom of the app and know your phone is getting charged.Pretty convenient and in terms of UX it is smart.I hope it can be charged without the use of the app and just putting my iPhone on the circle area, however it will be difficult for shops in light of cost.

At last, what I want to know more is who is incurring related cost. For users, the app is free and so is charging. I don’t think location ad revenue is covering the cost of chargers and installation of the them into tables in cafe and restaurants. Are cafes and restaurants paying for the initial cost? Is there any recurring cost? As long as they pay for ad, initial installment is free? etc. I will check them out later.

e-bike, IoT, Mobility, Technology

上司のホームパーティーに呼ばれ、「美味しい酒と日本食が食べれる」と息巻きましたが、SunnyvaleからMountain ViewまでUberで20分と中途半端な距離です。ワークアウトを兼ねて「基本的に歩き(=2時間20分)、途中でLime バイクが見つかったらそれに乗って距離をかせぐ」という作戦としました。

Invited to a home party by my boss, pleased with “good drinks and Japanese food”, to go there it would take 20 minutes with Uber, which is not too long and not too short. I set a strategy that “basically walk there (which would take 2 hours and 20 minutes), but if I find Lime Bike on the way, I take it and ride to shorten the time”.

I met a CEO of Lime the other day in a conference and asked him the possibility of their business in Japan. He was positive in going to Japan. I hope someday I can ride their e-scooter and bike there.

With 30 minutes walk from my home, found them as I planned.
Lime E e-assist bike
How to use the bike. First, download Lime app and unlock the bike by scanning the QR code from the app. That’s it!
停めていいところについてが非常に分かりにくい。この部分がビジネスがスケールする肝ですが、事業拡大のためにわざと曖昧にしている気がする。「Bike rack」はなかなか無い中、「pavement between sidewalk and curb」は非常に分かりにくい。
“GPS Tracked” is a sort of warning for users for parking. The parking instruction is really hard to understand. This is a core of their business model. I guess they made it vague so that they can expand their business. “Bike rack” is rarely found in towns and “pavement between sidewalk and curb” is super hard to understand.

Although it is an “E-bike”, it is not that fast. Probably in order not speed up too much. The body of bike is heavy and first pedaling is heavy and slow. However, after the some pedaling it becomes comfortable. Assist in the uphill climbing is so-so.

で30分強、5.5km乗ってみた。やっぱり停めるところに迷い、Mountain View ダウンタウンに入り、バイクラックをわざわざ探しました。
I rode the bike for 30+ minutes and 3.4 miles. As I expected, I wandered where to park the bike and eventually went in the downtown of Mountain View to find a bike rack…
6 bucks? A kind of expensive!
Superb UX when finishing the ride. As soon as you lock the bike as above, the bike communicate it via internet and notifies the app as below.
I always think this kind of great UX makes startups here great.
I tried to find a house for my family to live together on the way
Arrived at destination after parking the bike and 45 minutes walk. His apartment has a swimming pool.Living in apartment can be an option for my family. I’m still wondering…