Pay attention, Bird, Lime and any other eScooter rental company that wants to enter NYC.
I’m disappointed in Lime and Bird. They should be hiring people to ride eScooters in Manhattan as part of a campaign to soften up the population — and to cudgel the politicians.
Must I do all the thinking for them?
Well, I’m going all Edward Bernays (click link because I know that you know that you don’t know who he is) on this one.
Before I get to that, there’s this. Pay attention to this, Bird, Lime, et al:
Got that? Then let’s go…
I’m not going to tell you the kind of people to recruit. You guys all probably have the demographics of your customers down pat.
What I will say is that this has to be rolled out in a clever way. The riders must act as if they own the scooter (which, dummy, should not have Bird, Lime, or anything other than the eScooter brand itself on it). And they must not all go out at once for just a single day. Give each rider a territory to stick to and rotate them. Match up your demographics to that of the city.
What I’m giving you is the sales pitch to get your asses into New York City.
It’s not going to happen by pressuring the graft-ridden bureaucracy or City Council (unless, you know, your respective hundreds of millions take into account a slush fund for that — even then, you’re still idiots for thinking politicians won’t knife you in the back!). This has to be pressure from the people.
So, OK, your riders have their assignments. They just don’t ride. Periodically, they must rest at spots where people will notice the eScooter. It’s a billboard. Also, your riders should all have backpacks. Otherwise they’ll look suspicious. Your riders can even start conversations with people nearby (I guess then I am somewhat telling you the kind of people to recruit: Outgoing, friendly, approachable — all the things I’m not!).
Sooner or later it will turn to this:
Resident: “What eScooter is that?”
Rider: [say eScooter brand name: Xiaomi, Ninebot/Segway, whatever]
There might be some technical questions so the riders must be briefed on specs, like range, top speed, etc.
And then it will get to — because it always does:
Resident: “What does it cost?”
Rider: “Well, I got it as a gift from my [wife/husband/lover/family]. But, you know what I heard? A company called [insert company name] wants to come into this city to rent electric scooters. If I’d known that, I would’ve told my [wife/husband/lover/family] not to buy this for me. It’s a hassle to bring into stores and you can’t really lock it on the street. Plus, it’s pretty heavy to drag around if the battery dies. That company I mentioned, [insert company name]? The electric scooters they want to rent can just be left on the sidewalk. They won’t have docks like CitiBike. So wherever you are, you can just park it and leave it. As long as you have a smartphone and can pay with a credit card to rent, it’s a better deal than owning one of these [dismissive wave of the hand]. I’ve even called my City Council member to tell them I want these rental scooters here. That way, I won’t be riding by myself.
Must I explain what’s going on there? I think I must.
1) “Well, I got it as a gift from my [wife/husband/lover/family].” — the whole point here is to deflect interest from ownership.
2) “But, you know what I heard?” — this sounds like sharing a secret.
3) “A company called [insert company name] wants to come into this city to rent electric scooters.” — setting the groundwork and planting the company’s name.
4) “If I’d known that, I would’ve told my [wife/husband/lover/family] not to buy this for me.” — it sounds like he just heard about this and again ownership is discouraged.
5) “It’s a hassle to bring into stores and you can’t really lock it on the street. Plus, it’s pretty heavy to drag around if the battery dies.” — owning an eScooter doesn’t sound appealing now, does it?
6) “That company I mentioned, [insert company name]?” — planting the name of the company a second time.
7) “The electric scooters they want to rent can just be left on the sidewalk. They won’t have docks like CitiBike. So wherever you are, you can just park it and leave it.” — convenience!
8) “As long as you have a smartphone and can pay with a credit card to rent, it’s a better deal than owning one of these [dismissive wave of the hand].” — anticipates questions someone might want to ask about how renting would work.
9) “I’ve even called my City Council member to tell them I want these rental scooters here.” — tells how they can help if their interest is real.
10) “That way, I won’t be riding by myself.” — which is a lonely thing and no one likes that (well, aside from me).
They can also ad-lib their own stuff — if they have the brains and charisma — about how fun riding is and how it’s easier to get to stores, get to work, and visit friends. All of which will be even easier when he can just rent an electric scooter instead of lugging it around as an owner.
All of these riders must agree to be NDAed. Not a breath of this campaign must leak. This is war.
Well, sure, this post is public. But they’d have to prove this is what’s going on.
Now, this is the graft I want if any of you use this: A Lifetime Pass. Free rentals wherever your eScooters are. And really, if you think this is going to be a large amount of money for you, go look through all of my past blogs. They go back to 2006. Try to find a post where I’m ever out of this country or even out of this area! This is a bargain in the world of baksheesh. And I’m not asking for passes. Just one. For me.
And if you think you can just rip this off… See Harlan Ellison in that video? He taught me how to bite.
Same-day update: After hitting Publish, I thought some more and realized any ad-lib is just as important and the secret pitch I scripted. Each rider should be given a background story. Why they wanted the eScooter, why they needed it. Maybe actors are the best recruits for riders, but they shouldn’t look like intimidating supermodels. See this post for why a background story matters. No, I won’t offer any of those stories. My work ends here.