Friday, June 15, 2018

"In Silicon Valley, after all, math is less important than intangibles like vision. And when $1 billion can become $1.5 billion, or even $2 billion, in a manner of weeks, you’ve entered a world of abstraction".

Said: Maya Kosoff in her column titled "[“I Want No Part In It”: The Hysterical Debate Over Silicon Valley’s Next Big Thing"] in Vanity Fair of June 14. Her comment was based on the astronomical rise in the valuation of Bird, the electric-scooter start-up, from $300 million in March this year to $1 billion at the end of May and now the startup is seeking a fresh round of $200 million funding at $2 billion valuation - double the valuation in less than one month!

Maya beautifully illustrates the arguments for and against the scooter culture that is gripping the Metros like San Francisco and Los Angeles where the sudden preponderance of Bird scooters has created a cottage industry of people who collect and charge Bird scooters, known as “Bird hunters.” 

True believers see things differently. “It’s been [over] a decade” since the Segway, another scooter-start-up investor told me of the inevitable comparison. “Plenty of things didn’t work a decade ago that work now, due to cultural shifts.” Car- and bike-sharing services have already inaugurated a new way of thinking about public and private transportation, acclimating consumers to the idea that they don’t need their own vehicles to get around. Kevin Roose, reporting for The New York Times, grudgingly admitted that electric scooters, while “kind of dorky,” are also weirdly useful, under the right circumstances. “I wanted to hate the scooters. I really did,” he wrote, before traveling to Los Angeles for work. “Tech hubris on wheels - what’s not to loathe?” Instead, he fell in love. The scooters are ubiquitous, easily discovered and unlocked via smartphone app, and driving is simple: a throttle controls the speed, which tops out at a breezy 15 miles per hour, and a hand brake brings you to a smooth stop. When you arrive at your destination, you leave the scooter wherever you like and lock it with the app.
Indeed, the vigor expressed by Bird enthusiasts may be matched only by the company’s detractors, who have condemned the scooters as a plague, a nuisance, and even an existential danger. “It’s wheelmageddon,” one San Francisco resident told me in April. “They are everywhere . . . People are zooming past pedestrians without a single fuck to give.” 
Read Maya's full article here.

You can also watch below how this new breed of electric scooters is invading San Francisco (Courtesy: Engadget):