Startup to SF: Just Avoid that Pesky Transit Strike via Helicopter!
Here's how thinking about the world works in Silicon Valley: when public transportation is disrupted (in the old sense) due to labor disputes, that's not an inconvenience! It's an opportunity to plug your app and offer helicopter rides—literally fly over society's problems.
San Francisco's BART service is frozen today after pension, salary, and healthcare negotiations broke down. It's a complicated issue—unless you're Avego, which peddles "ridesharing" across the Bay Area, and sees promotional windfall where others see a complete headache.
Forget about the inordinate number of San Franciscans who'll struggle to get to work because of the strike. Forget about the striking BART employees who want a better deal from their employers. In Valleythink, "crisis" is just another way to push downloads—and so Avego cannily registered BARTstrike.com to exploit the mess.
You might think that's a little... insensitive. I sure do. But you have to hand it to the Avego team with their latest marketing, one of the most myopic promotions in the history in the long bleak history of tech marketing myopia. The following email was sent to a prominent tech journalist (emphasis added):
Not sure if you have the week off for the holiday, however, I am helping out Avego, a company with a ride sharing app that enables people to quickly find people nearby to catch a ride with. Their user base in the bay area is exploding right now in light of the Bart Strike. They are also doing a promotion to give four commuters a lift via helicopter from San Francisco to the east bay, every day until the end of the strike. See here. Not entirely sure this is a fit for you, but given the bay area tie-in, perhaps it is a good way to share how technology helps out during “crisis?”
Might it be of interest speak with someone over there today?
Wish Public Relations, Principal
Google hangout: kim.angell
Great angle, Kimberly. Tech really does really prove itself during crises—if only we'd had GetGlue during 9/11. Just a note though: it's things like using labor strikes and helicopter commutes as promotional tool that makes people think you're out of touch with our planet.