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Real Time Ride Sharing

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Real time ride sharing is a smart phone based tool that allows commuters to find each other such that they can share the cost of driving to and from work. In the US use of the tool allows drivers to access High occupancy Vehicle lanes saving them time getting to work. Sharing the costs reduces peoples commute costs and sharing rides reduces harm to the environment by removing cars from the system and reducing congestion. Think Carpooling in the web3.0...

The challenge in growing this product is encouraging the commuters to change their behaviour from driving in their Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) or using public transit to sharing their commute cost and cutting their commute time in a rideshare arrangement. Motivation to change is the key here. The demotivator to doing this is the initial anxiety caused by travelling with a stranger. 

GROWING THE PRODUCT

Bumps: Growth that can only be repeated with ongoing investment

1. Piggy back on events: 

There are events that effect the underlying transit infrastructure (e.g. SF BART Strike). RTR can leverage these events to ensure that stranded commuters have an alternative mode of transport to or from work. 

2. Rig Pilots to concentrate usage in certain geographies. 

Pilot projects can be organised with local government, large corporations etc. These pilots have a defined (often volunteer) user base that can be used to seed capacity in the network. 

3. PR Events and Competitions

4. Piggy back on other forms of ridesharing

Vanpooling, trip-pooling, vansharing, carpooling are all valid forms of shared transport being used by commuters. These solve a number of different types of commute problems (first/last mile, long commute etc). It's an engine because it seeds capacity in the network, has a ready-built usage base and provides people with a way easily enter the ridesharing community. 

Engines: Growth can be repeated without ongoing marketing investment

1. Piggy Back Social Media: 

Allow users to sign in and invite users thru their social media. These are people's real identities on real networks (emai, fb, li, twitter) so they will be sensitive to spam. 

Why is this an engine? It's an engine because it provides users the ability to invite people from their pre-existing social networks. If users select these people they are probably good leads since these

2. Turn Taking....

When people carpool they often take turns driving. We can piggy back on this behaviour by encouraging the 'turn-taking' aspect to the relationship and encouraging tit-for-tat turns between people building streaks. 

It's an engine because....to take turns you need to have at least one other person in the relationship. 

3. Build A Community

When people carpool they have a sense of community or team. If we can expand that and give people a sense of something greater (sharing miles, sharing commutes, saving the environment, saving time, growing their community) then they will bring more people into the community. 

Its an engine because communities form their own momentum and networks over which to spread. 

4. Run an X-prize competition

We expose our functionality thru API's. We can publish these APIs for anyone to use. We could offer a substantial cash prize for anyone (individual or company) to create a self-sustained ridsharing community based on our underlying technology. 

It's an engine because multiple different entrants would use our technology to build their own ridesharing community, bringing in their own users and ideas. 

DESIGNING VIRALITY

Current Situation:

Are you getting users to bring in other users? Yes, by having an email Invite hacked / overlayed on top of the product. 

All other communications between users is within the context of the messaging functionality of the application and the fact that users can publish their commute details (location, schedule, bookings etc) within the application. 

How does virality work?

Virality spreads by having 4 things present at the same time (think of the common cold):

 - Carrier: The person with the disease/germ (in our case the RTR smartphone app)

 - Event: The person with the germ sneezes/coughs and injects the germ into the ecosystem (in our case this is someone publishing a schedule, looking for a rideshare). 

 - Medium: The physical network thru whih the germ travels in order to get to the recipient. In the case of the common cold this is just the air but in our case it's the ridesharing network we are building. 

 - Recipient: The person receiving the germ. This person then starts the cycle all over again (the viral loop). 

So, in the case of our application it's as if everyone is in QUARANTINE. All of the carriers and recipients are in the same house (the ridesharing network). Unless someone comes into the house it's impossible for the germ to become an epidemic (or go viral in the case of the app). 

Sticking with the disease analogy: 

Some diseases are easier to spread than others. The common cold (airborn), conjunctivitis (touch), AIDS (swapping body fluids). Different levels of intimacy are needed to spread different diseases. In our case, due to the initial anxiety and trust issues around sharing a ride with a stranger we need a high level of intomacy between two people to spread the germ. What does that mean? To get RTR to 'go viral' is not as easy as getting the common cold to go viral....It's not a sneeze amongst strangers and they will pick it up. It's a more intimate engagement than that. It's closer to spreading disease by touch. You need to invade the person's personal space adn encourage people to touch......At the moment we are sneezing into a hanky in an empty room and not shaking hands with anyone. 

So analogies aside what are the actions to design virality into the product? 

 - Break out of quarantine

Motivate the carrier to use their trusted (1st degree) connections in OTHER networks. How do we do this? What is the user doing at the time of "infection"? Who is the user? 

TODO

 - What is the event? What is the user doing at the time of infection? What is his motivation to spread the word?

TODO

 - What is the medium? What us the netwowrk over which the app will go viral? 

TODO

 - Who is going to receive the message / germ? What action do we want them to take and what is his motivation  for taking the action? 

TODO

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