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I'm Uber Excited about Uber

It's the quintessential night out in downtown Boston. You and all your friends meet up at [fill in the blank] bar for drinks and good times. Shortly before 2am the lights come on, coats are gathered and everyone - at every bar in the area - heads outside to hail a cab... simultaneously. What usually follows is 10-90 minutes of arm-extended frustration as I curse the anonymous backseat riders who drive by in unlit taxis. Well, not anymore. This weekend I finally tried out the relatively-new "on-demand private driver" service, Uber. For the past few months I've read articles about Uber's burgeoning growth and observed a growing number of complimentary tweets fill my news feed. Partially inspired by these positive reviews, but mainly motivated by the out-of-order ATM and the crowd of other bar patrons lining Tremont Street, I decided to give Uber a shot this past Saturday night. Let me say, it was a life changing experience. In less than 5 minutes, I downloaded Uber's iPhone app, set-up a personal profile, requested a car and got picked up. That's right. 5 minutes from searching the App store to being in the backseat of Ameur's (my driver) sedan. Here's a quick overview of how the service works: Request a ride from anywhere at any time via SMS or by using Uber's iPhone or Android apps (GPS pinpoints your specific location and provides to Uber) Uber dispatches the nearest driver to pick you up and immediately provides an estimated arrival time. Via the app, you can actually watch your black car en route to your location Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride... cash free. Uber automatically charges the cost of the ride - including tip - to the credit card you have on file. Pricing is based on a flat base fare ($7 in Boston) and then incremental charges based on distance/time The overall experience was terrific. After arriving at my destination, I immediately received a receipt via email and was encouraged to rate my driver on a 1-5 star scale. The cost of the ride was relatively comparable to a taxi (perhaps a few dollars more), but the overall experience was head and shoulders above taking a cab home. Available in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, D.C. and soon in LA and Toronto - Uber marries the best of technology and convenience to provide a stellar consumer experience. I highly recommend downloading the app and giving Uber a try. And with promises that this is a totally unsolicited endorsement, I will also share that they have a great referral program to motivate trial. Sign up with this link and get $10 off your first ride! https://clients.uber.com/#!/invite/jv4kz. Any other Uber fans out there? Let me know about your experiences so far in the comments section below!

  • 2 min read
  • March 5, 2012

I'm Uber Excited about Uber

It's the quintessential night out in downtown Boston. You and all your friends meet up at [fill in the blank] bar for drinks and good times. Shortly before 2am the lights come on, coats are gathered and everyone - at every bar in the area - heads outside to hail a cab... simultaneously. What usually follows is 10-90 minutes of arm-extended frustration as I curse the anonymous backseat riders who drive by in unlit taxis. Well, not anymore. This weekend I finally tried out the relatively-new "on-demand private driver" service, Uber. For the past few months I've read articles about Uber's burgeoning growth and observed a growing number of complimentary tweets fill my news feed. Partially inspired by these positive reviews, but mainly motivated by the out-of-order ATM and the crowd of other bar patrons lining Tremont Street, I decided to give Uber a shot this past Saturday night. Let me say, it was a life changing experience. In less than 5 minutes, I downloaded Uber's iPhone app, set-up a personal profile, requested a car and got picked up. That's right. 5 minutes from searching the App store to being in the backseat of Ameur's (my driver) sedan. Here's a quick overview of how the service works: Request a ride from anywhere at any time via SMS or by using Uber's iPhone or Android apps (GPS pinpoints your specific location and provides to Uber) Uber dispatches the nearest driver to pick you up and immediately provides an estimated arrival time. Via the app, you can actually watch your black car en route to your location Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride... cash free. Uber automatically charges the cost of the ride - including tip - to the credit card you have on file. Pricing is based on a flat base fare ($7 in Boston) and then incremental charges based on distance/time The overall experience was terrific. After arriving at my destination, I immediately received a receipt via email and was encouraged to rate my driver on a 1-5 star scale. The cost of the ride was relatively comparable to a taxi (perhaps a few dollars more), but the overall experience was head and shoulders above taking a cab home. Available in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, D.C. and soon in LA and Toronto - Uber marries the best of technology and convenience to provide a stellar consumer experience. I highly recommend downloading the app and giving Uber a try. And with promises that this is a totally unsolicited endorsement, I will also share that they have a great referral program to motivate trial. Sign up with this link and get $10 off your first ride! https://clients.uber.com/#!/invite/jv4kz. Any other Uber fans out there? Let me know about your experiences so far in the comments section below!

Connecting the Dots: Foursquare and Location Based Social Media

On Monday, a few of us from AMP attended a great Ad Club event with Dennis Crowley (@dens), co-founder of the location based social networking website Foursquare at the NERD Center in Cambridge. I've known about Foursquare for a while, but it was a great opportunity to hear directly from one of the creators not only how it started, but where it's going. With growth rates rivaling Twitter, the 1 million user mark close at hand and a potential $100 million buyout from Yahoo, Foursquare is about to get even more attention in the coming months. Here are some really interesting things we picked up at the event. What's the deal with Foursquare? If you don't know, Foursquare is a service that allows you to 'check-in'? at just about everywhere you go ' work, shops, bars, and even public transportation. Every time you check in, you get points, and have the opportunity to unlock badges ' everything from Newbie for first timers to Mayor for the person that checks in the most. Foursquare was initially built to share your location with people you know and want to meet up with. Crowley mentioned he had always been intrigued by dots on maps, and one day asked 'why can't the dots be people?'? While Facebook and Twitter are places for thousands of friends, Foursquare lets you stay connected to those closest to you. Since its launch, Foursquare has grown into a larger platform that now allows you to simultaneously gather reviews/recommendations from a larger peer community. Like most social media services, what was originally built as a means of keeping up with friends, is now turning into a service many brands are now trying to leverage to reach their most loyal consumers. Isn't everyone doing location based features now? While Twitter, Facebook and others have location as a feature, the biggest point of differentiation with Foursquare is the competitive nature of it. Crowley mentioned that with Foursquare it's all about 'the screen you see after check-in'?. Twitter and Facebook allow you to say where you are, but won't show you who else is there. The gaming aspect of Foursquare ' the badges, the points ' is what keeps people active on the service. Where is this technology going? Right now, you collect badges and points for every interaction you have. At the moment, they're strictly for bragging rights. In the future there might be some additional functionality where you can use badges and points to cash in for rewards. Additionally, there's the whole idea of web 3.0 that involves anticipation and building technology to tell me and others not only where I am, but where I'm going or should go. How can brands get into the mix? At the very least, every check-in is a mini ad for that location. It's basically telling your friends, I care enough about this place to let you know I'm there. That's word of mouth advertising in its simplest form. Crowley did stress that Foursquare is not planning on 'making badges to make badges'? for brands. In order for brands to successfully integrate with Foursquare, there needs to be some sort of actual application for users ' just check out what MTV and Bravo are doing to connect regular folks with their reality 'stars'?. They want advertisers/brands to add value to the platform not just use it to advertise. In the near future, there will be additional research and data gathering opportunities as well. Eventually, participating brands will be able to access a dashboard that shows them who, when, and how often people are checking in. This could lead to some great consumer insights with cross-cut data. If we know that consumers who check-in at your business are also over indexing somewhere else, there will be opportunities to understand where else to reach consumers and how to cross-promote.

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