jaredbrick

Get Lyft'ed by the pink furry mustache SF

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by

Learn why you need to know about this new mobile app in SF.

Do you believe in utilizing our existing infrastructure and transportation resources to serve a growing societal need… well then meet Lyft!

It was all started by the social entrepreneurs of Zimride, the most trusted name in long distance ride-sharing, as they kicked off this SF division… Lyft, your friend with a car, on-demand. Trained verified drivers like me, use their own cars, including a signature big furry pink mustache on the car to shuttle terribly happy folks around SF and beyond.  We use a clean breakthrough, terribly disruptive mobile app to guide us to each willing next passenger, fist bumps are the norm at Lyft.

I am driving my own car in SF, while beta-testing this hot new mobile app. I am also building local community good vibes by working for a startup spin-off in the local ride-sharing industry.  Collective consumption and the sharing economy never worked so well… other top US cities are next!

What no cash?
Yup, no cash or plastic cards move hands during these efficient rides, excited users sign-up with a credit card and are then billed after the ride.  At the end of the sweet Lyft, where you may sit up front and charge your iPhone, you are offered the optional +/- donation price.  Lyft keenly configures a fair "donation" amount, now including small $2 tip, based on time & distance, typically less than the rare SF taxi.  Riders can bump up the fare by adding money or subtracting money, based on their actual experience.  Riders and drivers then rate each other based on 5 stars regarding their experience and comfort during the Lyft.  It keeps everyone honest and well behaved.  

So… how is this possible?
 A few good reasons actually…
1. Donation rides, are considered legal in SF since the rides are pre-arranged via the mobile app.
2. Zimride and Lyft founders are incredibly smart and have cracked the broken SF taxi system.
3. Drivers are vetted via the DMV and criminal background checks prior to receiving their pink mustaches.
4. Taxis and cabs have abused their monopolistic powers in a city that needs to move "app" fast!
5. Entrepreneurs are disrupting all sectors that need innovation to include more shared resources.  

Amazingly, there is already competition in this space with SideCar offering a similar, albeit a bit less fun and Uber, for the executive's budget.  Lyft is certainly stealing the moment though, as SF comes alive with pink mustaches and yours truly own, the "pink unibrow."  People are excited, fist-bumps are flying and disruption is occurring. Next up… even more cities across the US! 

Lyft Pink Mustache in SF

So, next time you are stuck at a Muni stop with 43 minutes waiting for the next overcrowded bus, or waiving your arm numb from hailing a taxi… pause then download this hot new app and get LYFT'ed!

Need a ride… get a Lyft!
http://lyft.me/
Now available for iOS and Android smartphones

Follow more updates from @JaredBrick


 

Innovating Up River

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Bigadventures

Unlike this lucky bloke,  green innovation is starting to feel pretty dam hard.

Many out there are struggling to develop new sustainable strategies, products, processes and implementing them all by pushing against the current flow.  Most are attempting to look at this world with green tinted glasses and reform almost all of the products and processes we live by.  The opportunity is certainly abounding and yet the reality can be sobering.  
Innovators are being asked to be more even more compelling, operate with less resources, and eek-out more value to each respective need.  A greater responsibility to improve current models, under the lens of sustainability, is falling on the brave and courageous few people to change the world.  The true goal may be to actually recruit "green" marines, the few and the proud… Hooo-Rah!


Pick any challenging real world issue and look closely… you can find just a handful of truly passionate social entrepreneurs working for change in that arena.  Whether the innovation is in food, agriculture, energy, technologies, products, or waste... we are being asked to redesign them all.  Only a few out there are truly developing system-wide changes to save time, resources and precious money, all in the greater name of sustainability.  When did the fate of so many lay in the hands of so few? But are we all trying to rebuild a ship after is has hit the iceberg and taking in water? Let's hope not.



At some point it all begins to feel like paddling upstream against the current while having "conventional" rocks appear in your path.  One can imagine the timeless innovators felt this great resistance… maybe we are no different now.  Oddly, most what we are transforming makes a product, service or process- simpler, easier, cheaper, with have less impact.  Consider clean technologies such as electric vehicles; simple to use (no gas), effective operations (gets you there) and easy to power (plug-in). Yet in today's ecological thinking, we must still prove the business case for them. Who is being asked to prove the business case for pollution, obvious waste with the harsh negative impacts we see daily... no one!



A collective grand vision for the green movement is to get all parties involved into the millions of innovations, as our evolution is seeking the best collaborative solutions to our varied modern problems. If we leave these crucial tasks only for a few to solve, making major inroads may simply take too long.  The conventional model is to work in a resource constrained systems that are functioning under old corporate cultures of; time equals money, bigger and better, and of course... not "my" problem.  


Our greatest task as innovators is now recruitment of conscious leaders... yes I do mean you! If you have made it this far, then you too could decide that now is the time to rally and gain momentum. Whether it be for noble ideals, lofty aspirations, personal gain or for the greater collective good of future generations... does it really matter anymore?  What matters now is what you do, how you live and what you support. We are all gifted with constant access to new communication channels, reliable information and available resources.  Even though there are few valid excuses left to claim… some certainly will.



If we wait, if we dilly-dally, if we decide not to give these bold efforts 110% now... where will it leave us all exactly?  Will we be able to move our own evolution forward fast enough to make real progress? Can we recruit others fast enough to the grand vision, so they can grasp it for themselves and realize this is our only way forward.  It may simply come down to values and a few questions to ask.



Trust- Do we have enough to move forward together?


Integrity- Similar to trust, can we commit to do what we say we will?


Responsibility- Can we find our own and help others see theirs?

Creativity- Can we look at the real issues with freedom and inspiration?


Motivation- Will what we are building move others to action?

Interested to hear your ideas, solutions and opinions?  Please share them here, it is a first step towards change. 

Jared Brick recently attained an MBA in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School in SF.  He is developing the first ever reusables tracking platform, rewarding consumers everywhere in their retail experiences.  Follow the journey at traxactions.com or on twitter: traxactions

Green Corporations... Can You Trust Them?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by

Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Sprint, KFC, Shell, Chase, Ford, Staples, CVS and the long list goes on.  These larger than life brands immediately conjure up images and thoughts of our past experiences that have either helped or hurt these companies perception regarding sustainability.  

Image courtesy of Yum Brands


Of the ten companies above, 100% are doing something around sustainability issues related to their respective industries.  Some are improving energy, some reducing waste, some have take-back programs, some are are even developing products for the eco-conscious consumer. Whatever the companies are doing, a larger issue is hiding just under the surface… trust!  

We have all felt and witnessed corporate green-washing, but is this simply the beginning of the change process, we all have to start somewhere, right?  Corporate sustainability and CSR are poised to be the next evolution of business trends, similar to how IT changed the game. How can we know that these companies are sincere, committed and really able to transform their impact?  Should we care or shop elsewhere?

A tougher issue many of us already know, is that the base product lines of these companies don't exactly help people or the planet. There are health studies, insider videos, user testimonials, advocacy groups and other opposing groups asking us quite directly 'not' to support some of these companies.  Are these  really the opposite of the shop local movement, considering others in our community are employed there? 

So, what's a good socially responsible citizen to do?  More over, what is a newly socially responsible corporation to do, when they have the realities of their industry and various product lines to transform?  

Here is a fast recap of just some of the eco-positive moves BIG companies are undertaking: 
1. CVS is rewarding consumers for bringing reusable bags with their Green Bag Tags 
2. Sprint has a new line of eco-friendly mobile phones with less environmental impact.  
3. Ford is releasing an electric vehicle on the way called the Focus Electric.  
4. Staples is directly crediting shoppers for taking back used ink cartridges.
5. KFC has released the first ever reusable side container in the fast food industry (just don't tell the SF Soup Company


Hopefully this corporate sustainability trend will continue and grow until the "S" word is removed and sustainability is just part of doing good business, that serves the triple bottom line. I guess we will have to call this LOHA then?   

If you want to read more about what the world's largest companies are doing please pop over to triplepundit.com and do a search for any company.  Some news is positive, some negative and some down right controversial, but all of it interesting and forces us to question our beliefs.  

Jared Brick is completing his MBA in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School in SF.  He is working on creating the first ever reusables tracking platform, rewarding consumers everywhere in their retail experiences.  Follow the journey at traxactions.com or on twitter: traxactions
 

Unreasonable and Off the Grid!

Saturday, March 24, 2012 by

Living unreasonably doesn't mean acting without good sense, yet it means living beyond the limits of acceptability or fairness.  However you interpret the meaning of the word… there are those bold dreamers out there attempting to make a real difference for people.  In a time when our future is uncertain and our present is tense, we can rely on courageous and compassionate entrepreneurs to lead us by living a life... Unreasonable!

A breakthrough, entrepreneurial accelerator called The "Unreasonable Institute" in Boulder, CO recently completed its 2012 selections of global entrepreneurs. The candidates are a diverse passionate group, that are out to create disruptive business models for breakthrough change.  This year the institute decided to crowdsource the votes to help company founders compete.  They must fundraise towards a modest goal of $10,000, serving as their entry into the 6 week summer program.  While 25 amazing startups and entrepreneurs have reached the threshold of capital needed for entry, many wonderful projects will unfortunately not make this years list.  The good news is, you can still help these bold ambassadors for change.   

One such project, I was personally inspired by is "The Green Desert," operating in a contentious and dangerous location better known for battles, prejudices and media storms.  The entrepreneur, Mohammed Salem, was a trained pharmacist in Palestine seeking to use the power of change as his medicine.  He has decided to focus his efforts on the forgotten Bedouin tribes of Palestine and East Jerusalem.  Salem represents the new eco-entrepreneur perfectly by focusing on a truly marginalized community of only 2,300 spread over 20 communities.  He is utilizing the power of positive capital investments for good to benefit people in their native environments.  

The Bedouin's need for energy is all too real.  So, by providing life-saving renewable electricity via solar, wind and biogas units it tackles this issue.  His model for The Green Desert, is to use local experts in renewable energy products to install units and train each community group.  The project even has the potential to use recycled materials to build local wind turbines and solar cookers.  Since over two-thirds of these communities are children, accessibility to cooking resources is crucial for their long term health.

The good news is that this project is already a functioning reality. It has made a great impact to over 500 homes being powered by pollution-free renewables, fueling the local communities.  Although Mohammed was unable to raise the initial $10,000 to enter the Unreasonable Institute this summer, you can still help!  You and other investors can provide helpful resources and connections inside your network to grow this worthy venture.  

In an area of our world rife with frequent battles, regular distrust and great instability it inspires me to know that people like Mohammed are out there living a life truly... Unreasonable!  

For more information about The Green Desert please contact founder Mohammed Salem at b_m_g_b@yahoo.com or click this link below:
https://marketplace.unreasonableinstitute.org/project/green-power

About the author:
Jared Brick is an MBA candidate in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School in SF, CA.  He is currently developing TraX Actions, a disruptive rewards platform to incentivize consumers and retail businesses to engage in sustainable practices.  Follow him on Twitter @jaredbrick or email him at: jared.brick@presidioedu.org for more details.  

Thanks for sharing!

 

What you measure matters

Monday, March 5, 2012 by

 

There is a Image courtesy of http://www.dans-plan.com/new phenomenon occurring in our modern culture, known officially as the quantified-self movement.  Whether it be daily calories eaten, steps walked or even hours slept… we are becoming scientists within the "self" universe.
There are new findings about what shifts behavior change and so much of it focuses on the old adage of, what you measure matters.  Plus there are new modern tools to help us track and measure the data from our daily experiences. It allows us to plan, reflect and thus... change.  

 

 

Health and Fitness
We are beginning to witness the futuristic adoption of wearing body monitors to help us collect information. Products like the FitBit and Nike's new Fuel Band, can even tell you how much you are sleeping at night (due to a lack of movement activity).  The FitBit not only has wireless sync capability, but is now linked to Foursquare the largest mobile "check-in" site in the country.  Consider this, now you can track how many steps you took to walk to your local farmers market, and then share what you bought there with millions of people.  We are becoming data aggregators and sponsoring companies love us for it.  Partner companies can see our patterns to find new ways to incentivize us.  These new devices allow us insight into our own habit patterns and hold the promise of personal evolution.   

Lifestyle Goals
Have you played with your kids today, done yoga, walked your dog or simply felt compassionate today?  Well, Daily Feats, a new startup company based out of NYC (of all places), can help you track it all.  Their website and related mobile app allows you to set specific goals to meet a variety of personal lifestyle activities. Based on your personal preferences you can select hundreds of activities called "Feats" to track your lifestyle goals all in one place.  This model then provides you with a life score from 0-5, with 5 being a perfect superhuman-enlightened being (sadly I am only at 1.6, but just getting starting). With the ability to sign-in to this service via Facebook, Foursquare, email and now SMS text you can even link your "Feats" with friends online.  The SMS option is most powerful since over 97% of people read their texts (only 4% read emails now)… it is a proven new communication tool.

Conscious Living
This new trend gets into us … literally, it tracks what we eating daily and how it relates to our overall health. Start-up's like Dan's Plan use the motto, "Helping you achieve optimal health in a modern world"… with the emphasis on optimal and modern.  This platform allows you to collect data from a variety of new devices for capturing your ideal eating, restorative sleeping and enduring movement goals to reach an ideal.  Since, "our modern world fosters a lifestyle that leads to poor health," we have to take responsibility for it in our daily activities.   Real Mealz (currently in Beta) is another SF startup company that has realized if you simply cook more, you could be healthier. They have collected a spectrum of great organic recipes that help you include existing kitchen items and even take photos of your meals for nutritional analysis later on. All of this promises a life of greater awareness for the changes we seek within ourselves, our families and our greater impact on the world around us.  

Now is the time, as there are few valid excuses not to take action around your personal goals.  With the assistance of mobile apps, tracking websites, wi-fi devices and personalized support structures all around us I ask… so what will you measure?  

About the author: Jared Brick is an MBA business student from the Presidio Graduate School in SF.  He is currently developing a business model to track and incentivize reusables in the retail environment.  To learn more please email him at jared (at) traxactions.com or follow him on twitter: jaredbrick Thanks for sharing this article.

Hail to the "Embracers"

Monday, February 13, 2012 by

cool bike

Recently I was asked to present a compelling "business case for sustainability."  It is a common question innovative business students are attempting to answer inside the Presidio MBA program for Sustainable Management.  At first, I thought I would bring up all the great evidence and case studies that already exist for proving why businesses need to move in this direction… then something occurred.   

I started to think about all the grand evidence that exists in the world and how little it actually impacts our decisions.  Consider the overwhelming "evidence" out there on the following topics.  Cigarette smoking, global warming, alcohol abuse, fast food health impacts, obesity, exercise and fossil fuels for energy … the list goes on and on.  There are mountains of data that "prove" the case for or against these societal issues and thus "prove" the case for a better way. Yet in the end, some people simply refuse to believe strong data, clear evidence or compelling arguments and continue their old ways.   

But this post is not about them, it is really celebrating you, the online LOHAS community.  It is about how you should be applauded and hailed as the "embracers" of sustainability and health.  The way you live, shop and support new markets is your achievement, hopefully to be imitated, as it is the highest form of flattery.  

A recent study by MITSloan shows that "embracers" are leading their industry and not waiting for  a core of sustainability to be included sometime in the future … they know the future is now.   This thinking is paying off and the "laggards" or cautious adopters are thus falling even further behind.

There are many others out there that are not working as hard as we are, to find the best sustainable solutions for our modern living and in business.  They can be considered "laggards", the people we feel we have to "prove" that sustainability works and that they should adopt it.   Now I am certainly a believer of sharing best practices, but proving that health and sustainability are important … really?  Mother nature designed us to think and find the best solutions for our own survival, we are in the process of our own evolution now and I am not sure proving our case is the best use of our time and energy.  

Clearly, you are the innovators and early adopters, the people on the front lines of our very evolution, pushing for change, not waiting for it arrive or be handed to us.  You are seeking out solutions every day to the very ills of our way of life and not willing to settle for conventional thinking, standard products or disconnected living.  Each time you spend money, you are considering larger impacts, each time you vote you are planning our collective future, each time you invest you are creating a new markets.  

The best part is that the world is finally listening, societies are paying attention, communities are shifting.  Your innovative thinking and bold actions are getting noticed all the world over.  You are bucking the trends, you are going against the grain and you are the exception to the rules.  Forget having to "prove the case", continue to live your lives your way and let that be your shining evidence to the world.  

The MITSloan report identifies seven best practices that "embracers" share:
    1.    Move early
    2.    Balance long-term vision with short-term impact
    3.    Drive sustainability philosophy from both the top-down and the bottom-up
    4.    Don’t make sustainability a silo
    5.    Measure in whatever way you can
    6.    Remember the intangible benefits
    7.    Communicate your expectations

I congratulate you for listening to your true gut instincts, your breakthrough mind and most importantly your compassionate heart. I look forward to shaking your hand at the June 2012 LOHAS conference in Boulder.   

Jared Brick is a current student at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. 

You can follow him here:
http://twitter.com/jaredbrick
 

Are your investments aligned with your values?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 by
The 2012 investment world is rife with challenges, issues, corruption, greed and mainly a void for real social concerns.  The rise of the "Occupy" movement may have helped the world to realign personal values with personal spending.  Hundreds, thousands and millions of personal investment dollars are being spent on companies that do not support positive impacts.  Yet, the first impact in this new type of investing is upon you… the willing contributor. 

Impact Investments 

Most of us currently manage 401k's, mutual funds, diversified stock accounts and other related investment accounts, so we have the leverage to support this new sector. The recent growth of social and environment impact investments have spawned wholly new firms, new emerging markets and values-driven funds to match the personal interests of the contributors.   The larger investment world is starting to take notice of these small socially linked funds… that still return a profit!  While the overall financial return may be sometimes less than market averages, the returns to society are now finally beginning to be counted.   

The key remains diversification of your portfolio, as any sound financial advisor will tell you.  Mitigate your risk with long term, short term and medium growth opportunity investments.  Yet now you can begin to add social, environmental and impact investment funds to a portfolio.  Your direct support of this growth sector will contribute to the evolution of our financial markets.   

Asking the old question… "Am I making a good return on my investment," is no longer the only question to ask. Instead try on, "What impact is my investment making in the world?"

Here are some websites to further assist you in your research;

Hip Investor: Human Impact + Profits- http://hipinvestor.com
GIIN: Global Impact Investment Network- http://www.thegiin.org
The Investing Pledge http://investingpledge.com/

**Caution- This author is not a professional financial advisor or consultant. The information provided is for research and referenced basis only.  Please contact your financial advisor, begin your research and ask advisors to help you to find impact investments.**

Image from http://www.thegiin.org/cgi-bin/iowa/council/terragua/index.html

About the author: Jared Brick is a current Sustainable Management MBA student at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.  You can follow him here:
https://twitter.com/jaredbrick