Suddenly, Lyft

Lyft1.jpgWhen I decided to delete that app it was without hesitation. I wanted to avoid sanctimony, but the point of making a show of my resolve was a simple message, i.e. that manners matter. Even though that app had been extremely useful to me over the past year, it was not so useful that I could ignore its founder’s behavior once I finally paid attention.

So now I am paying attention, and need a new app. And where better to start looking? I liked the message of that story, for reasons akin to my boyhood preference for Bjorn Borg over John McEnroe. I believe in disruption and I believe in winning, but if one is going to develop new rules of the game, then they should definitely be better rules that lead to better behavior.

So the character in that story–who would not gloat about his competitor’s misfortunes–caught my attention. And that got me thinking of Lyft, which I knew next to nothing about before reading that story.

Yesterday, queued up for my morning walk was an interview with John Zimmer as the featured guest (if you click over to the How I Built This podcast, scroll down to find this conversation), and he was talking about his experience co-founding Lyft.

Lyft2.jpgPure luck. The 41 minutes had my full attention for more than one reason. Right at the beginning, he tells a story related to recruiting at Cornell. Then he tells a story about a course he took at Cornell, called Green Cities and how that had an impact on his life.

And that rang a bell because over the last two decades, I have lost count of how many Cornell interns we have had working with us all over the world who have cited that course as an inspiration. It also rang a bell because when I was teaching a course at Cornell between 2004-2010, many of the students who enrolled in my course would tell me that they were also enrolled in a course called Green Cities.

So, for the same reason I say shame on me for not deleting uber earlier, I also question how I could have gone so long without finding out more about this course called Green Cities! More on that another time, but for now let me just say that I have added the Lyft app. As it happens, I cannot use it while at Chan Chich Lodge, but I am happy to see that the app recognizes that Chan Chich is located in the Orange Walk district of Belize, just a short distance from the border with Guatemala. That is a promising start.

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