Tag Archives: Francisco

Electric Scooter Startups in Battle with San Francisco 
April 17, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

This is a guest post by Applico CTO and Principal Tri Tran. Prior to joining Applico, Tri was the co-founder and CEO of Munchery. 

After years of public battles with Uber, San Francisco has learned some valuable lessons. 

This time around, three electric scooter rental companies – Bird, Lime and Spin – are trying to roll out their service in downtown San Francisco. But the city is fighting back. As I happen to live in San Francisco and work in downtown, I’ve been able to witness this battle first hand.

Fast Rollout

As a startup entrepreneur, I quickly recognized the strategies that these three companies have taken to maximize business traction in as short a time as possible:

  • Flood a certain limited geography (such as downtown San Francisco) with a lot of scooters.
  • Get as many people as possible using them, very quickly. Once certain critical mass is reached, perhaps leverage them and their loyalty to fight off any regulations.
  • The default is seeking forgiveness afterward instead of seeking permission prior to operating. Let the city take any actions it needs to, assuming it’s historically very slow to react anyway.

I would not be surprised if these three companies also employ “fake” users and have them ride the scooters around town to create buzz, and thus word of mouth referral.

The City Fights Back

To my surprise, the city worked quickly and City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued cease-and-desist orders to all three companies.

The city wants the scooter companies to take actions to:

  1. Keep users from riding scooters on sidewalks
  2. Keep scooters from blocking sidewalks when parked
  3. Ensure that riders use helmets

It’s all in the name of public safety. Until then, the city will impound these scooters and may issues fines of a minimum of $ 125 for each violation. That is unless the companies can abate the problem within 30 days or prevail in an appeal hearing.

What Will Happen Next

It is not clear what these companies would do next, but here’s my take:

  • These three companies don’t have the operations to meet the city’s demand for the above described points
  • Limiting riders from sidewalks and ensuring unused scooters not block sidewalks is too tall of an order

Technically, it’s entirely possible to track riders on where they ride and whether they had left the scooters on sidewalks. They can even issue fines to riders who disobey such rules. But these rules would be a direct conflict to the convenience of ride-wherever and park-wherever, and thus would greatly reduce the attractiveness of using their scooters in the first place.

So what should they do? San Francisco has clearly established that it can move fast to regulate AND has created a repeatable process to impound these scooters.

Not complying will simply be too costly. More importantly, San Francisco also provides a model for all other cities to copy if/whenever the service rolls out to their cities. That’s bad news for Bird, Lime and Spin.

Ultimately, the service that these scooter companies provide is convenient, but not nearly as convenient as Uber was when it first arrived and replaced the painful taxi experience.

Additionally, the immediate public disruption of a horde of unfamiliar vehicles taking over sidewalks is much more apparent. Scootering on the streets has its own dangers as well when mixed with automobile traffic. The bike accident rate in San Francisco hasn’t changed much in the past few years. Relatively few people will brave their lives for that convenience.

Thus, these scooter companies will not have similar leverage nor political power from their small user bases to what Uber had when it fought against regulation attempts.

Based on the above, my prediction is that this service will go down into history as a fail, at least in major U.S. cities. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as these entrepreneurs will have learned a lot from the experience. They may find better, more sustainable businesses as a result. Cities are still grappling with what the future of transportation looks like, as are entrepreneurs. Scooters may not be it.

Tech

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Apple updates its website with San Francisco – its new in-house font
January 25, 2017 12:35 pm|Comments (0)


If you visited Apple.com today and noticed something different about the homepage, but couldn’t put your finger on it, it’s not just you. Apple has switched its homepage over to San Francisco; a brand new font the company developed in-house. San Francisco is a radically new development for the company. It emerged in 2015, and is now starting to replace Myriad as Apple’s font of choice. As a condensed sans-serif font, it remains legible on smaller displays (like those found on the Apple Watch) as well as on larger, high-resolution displays. In fact, San Francisco was designed with scalability in mind,…

This story continues at The Next Web

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IBM opens San Francisco office for Watson developer cloud
December 6, 2015 4:45 pm|Comments (0)

IBMIBM has opened a new office in San Francisco to channel further growth in its supercomputing business as it claims 77,000 developers across the world are using its Watson Developer Cloud to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.

The San Francisco office will open in 2016 to give local start ups access to Watson technology for their software projects. The facility will include resources dedicated to IBM’s new Spark processing technology as the vendor seeks to get Spark users interested in Watson, it said. IBM claims 100 companies have released software services based on Watson.

With a reported $ 100 million of venture capital fund earmarked for startups looking to build products on Watson, IBM now plans to offer its nascent partners technical support and consultancy on business plans, in addition to market making initiatives that include introductions to potential customers.

In September IBM opened a new Watson Health business centre in the Boston area to target the health sector and pharmaceutical industry. The new cloud initiative comes in the wake of reports of declining revenues in 13 consecutive quarters, while the app economy is ‘in full swing’, as IBM described it, with industry revenue projected to grow to $ 143 billion in 2016, according to analyst IDC. By 2018 half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis, according to the analyst.

IBM also announced a new expanded portfolio of application programming interfaces into Watson, bring the net total to 50. IBM’s cloud development partners have created systems for query support for card payments, customer support Q&As for financial services, live event media aggregation ‘as a service’ social marketing and apps for the entertainment and marketing industries. Early investment partners include WayBlazer, Sellpoints, Welltok, Pathway Genomics, Modernizing Medicine and Fluid.

In the UK, IBM has created three new Watson partners 50wise, Volume and SocialBro, which have created cloud apps for financial services, sales training and online marketing.


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