[Here’s the quick headline: email us at email@example.com to be invited to our private beta.]
For years we’ve been talking about building an app for ourselves. Our lives are 100% about our clients and their users, but it’s good practice to be the primary stakeholder. It’s also important to consciously manage our resources and our effort, just as our clients have to when running their business. So it’s a good exercise in reminding ourselves what it’s like to be in our clients’ shoes.
We had a lot of ideas that excited us, so we hope this becomes a regular practice, but for our first effort, we’ve decided to focus on Casual Carpool. For those who are unfamiliar with it, this is an alternative method of transportation for people in the San Francisco Bay Area. You simply go to one of the agreed-upon pickup locations, and riders pair with drivers with empty seats. The driver gets a cheaper toll, the riders get into the city for free or for $1, and everyone gets the joy of breezing across the Bay Bridge in the carpool lane. There is one agreed-upon drop-off spot in the city, and some locations have Casual Carpool for the way home too.We wanted to tackle this because it’s a system that already does so many good things: building community as neighbors ride in together and get to meet one another, helping the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, helping people save money, reducing congestion for everyone else, and saving people’s time in one aspect that has a significant impact on their happiness. And with the recent BART strike just ending (or not), it was an important alternative for people needing to get into San Francisco.
One of our wireframes of a driver indicating they’ve arrived at the corner and updating the info for others.
The only thing Casual Carpool doesn’t have going for it is predictability. It’s nearly impossible to head to one of the pick up locations and feel confident that you’ll be on your way quickly, either as a driver or as a rider. That’s where we come in: With the app we’re developing you can check from home to see how it looks. Are riders waiting? Drivers? You can let us know you’re on your way, and see if other people are headed to the pickup location as well. Once you arrive, you can return the favor by updating the status of the location so other people checking in get recent information. That’s it, for Version 1 (so as far as MVPs go, we’re finding that this is a good v1 to tackle).
We’re beginning development this month. If you’re interested in participating in our private beta, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get in touch! We’re also happy to hear any thoughts, concerns or ideas. And stay tuned for the launch party!