Last week I was in San Francisco and experienced a series of events that foreshadow the coming importance of what I call the last-second economy.
I’d scheduled five meetings with start-ups in different parts of the city that day. Rather than dealing with the hassle of finding parking at each, or trying to hail cabs, I used a mobile app called Lyft to get rides from place to place. Lyft is a peer-to-peer ride-sharing network, serviced by regular people driving their own cars — not professional taxi or limo drivers. You pull up the app on your phone, press a button to order a ride, and you’re notified who your driver is and how many minutes it will be until he picks you up.
I finished my second meeting of the day in Jackson Square and needed to get over to the Financial District. So I pressed the button on my phone and the app informed me it would be six minutes. Just then, I got a text from my wife asking where we were meeting for our date night. Argggh! This critical fact had escaped my mind, and I needed to immediately book a restaurant reservation. I pulled up my Open Table app, booked a table for 6:45 pm at a great spot in the Mission called Range. I matter-of-factly returned her text with our plans for the night. Just then my ride pulled up.
“The shift in consumer behavior creates substantial opportunities for businesses that fully understand and capitalize, and it will erode the market share of those that don’t.”