Monthly Archives: March 2012

The case for Uber in Miami

Uber should launch in Miami in the spring. Here’s why:

The need:
Anyone who lives in Miami knows that the transportation here SUCKS. The train is extremely limited, taking the bus takes forever and is inconvenient and a lot of customers complain about yellow cabs not showing up, driving like maniacs, drivers ripping people off, cabs being really dirty, etc.

Other factors:
– Parking is hard to find
– Parking is expensive
– Gas is expensive

Main areas to target for routes (in order of importance)
– South Beach
Brickell/Downtown/Midtown
Coconut Grove
– Miami International Airport?
Coral Gables/Kendall?

Target Users
– Young Professionals – Downtown Miami is experiencing a revival as young professionals and families move into residential towers that once sat mostly vacant amid the housing glut. Not everything is within walking distance.
– Commuters – You’d be surprised at the amount of people who drive from the suburbs to South Beach and/or the downtown area. Uber could be the solution to many parking woes and getting to events faster as well as those who want a safe way of getting home after a night out.
– College Kids – Miami has around 8 colleges with several campuses located throughout the city. I figure most of these kids would be more prone to use the service towards the end of the week.
– Tourists – Miami draws over 12 million visitors annually from across the country and around the world.

Big Events
Miami Music Week and Ultra Music Festival – the world comes to Miami for the biggest week in Electronic Music March 16-25. 150,000 people alone attend Ultra and there are many events throughout the week.
Miami Heat and Miami Marlins home games – The Heat are gearing up towards the playoffs and tend to fill up/if not sell out most of their games. This has obvious benefits for surrounding businesses in the downtown area. The Miami Marlins have finished construction of their new stadium in the downtown area. The consensus in the Miami Herald is that the parking “really stinks.” Thousands of people might be looking for a better alternative coming the home opener on April 4.
– Spring Break – Thousands of college kids and tourists flock here in March and April to enjoy the great weather, beaches, shopping, etc. Mostly self-explanatory.
– St. Patrick’s Day – Also self-explanatory.
Calle Ocho – The biggest block party of the year in Miami.
Sony Ericsson Open Tennis Tournament – The best tennis pros in the world converge on Key Biscayne for this annual tournament.
Miami Beach International Fashion Week – The largest Latin American and International fashion event in the U.S.
Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition – One of the biggest delights for kids in Miami is experienced every March when the “The Fair” comes to town.
– Easter Weekend
Miami Wine and Food Festival – Ranked as one of the top ten wine festivals in the nation, featuring an array of culinary and wine events.

and plenty more…

Publications
The Miami Herald
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Miami New Times
Miami Today
Miami Sun Post
Diario Las Americas (for Spanish speakers)

Blogs
TechCrunch
VentureBeat
Hacker News
etc.

Other Blogs and sites
http://www.greatermiami.com
http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/visitors/Transportation.aspx
http://www.visitflorida.com
http://www.miamidade.gov/transit
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Florida/Miami-763637/Transportation-Miami-TG-C-1.html
http://miami.about.com/od/transportation/Transportation.htm
http://www.miami-airport.com/faqs.asp

Forums
a) Reddit/digg
b) Craigslist postings and forum
c) Yahoo/ Google Groups

Other stuff to get the word out:
– Word of mouth is huge here. So many events, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc. rely on this and also could have openings to partnerships. Facebook/Twitter daily guerilla marketing is important.
– Hello Celebrity endorsers (Miami is full of them)
– Have an exclusive from a large local publication
– College newspapers (University of Miami, Florida International University, etc.)
– Tents at many of the events listed above
– Radio stations

Conclusion
The transportation in Miami is ripe for disruption. The hospitality and tourism industry is huge here in the spring (this is the high season going into the summer) and many of these people rely on transportation during this time. There are many problems such as how long it takes to hail a cab, drivers ripping people off, etc. that Uber can solve. But, Uber can also help solve other problems such as the drunk driving here as well. Uber will bring many benefits and could be wildly successful in a city that is craving a change to its transportation.

How technical do you have to be?

I think a lot of MBA’s will let out a sigh of relief when they read this post.

Many times I’ve wondered: how technical does someone have to be to start a web company?

Dennis Crowley is a co-founder of foursquare. He didn’t start coding when he was 14. Here is his answer from Quora:

Well, dodgeball was the project that got me coding (tho this was the super early version of the dodgeball city-guide in 2001). There were things I wanted to make, no one else was going to make them, so I learned out of one of those “Learn ASP in 30 days!” books (ps: original version of dodgeball was ASP pulling from MS Access).

At ITP / NYU, my buddy Shawn Van Every started teaching me PHP / MySQL and I eventually learned PHP by re-writing / resurrecting dodgeball.

I’m a pretty lousy coder – I actually only know scripting languages (I’ve never had luck w/ C / Java / etc) – but I know enough to hack together prototypes which is often all you need to get started and get from 0 -> 10k users etc.