Onward Update: Starting to Lay the Foundation

I sent this email out to people following the company. If you’d like to sign up for email updates, click below. I send them out every 3-5 months.



 

Onward Logo

Hello!

It’s been a few months since my last update. Here’s what we’re up to over here at Onward…

A reminder of what we’re doing

We started Onward earlier this year. We’re a new company focused on transportation for older adults or those who need extra assistance. Ever since our families started aging and needing more help, we realized there’s a huge need to have great services available to serve them.

About half of our riders are older adults over the age of 75. The other half are those who have a medical condition and need help getting to and from their appointments.

How are we different from Uber/Lyft?

They provide “curb-to-curb” rides whereas our service conducts “door-to-door” or “door-through-door” service. On pickup, our drivers come to the door and help the rider to the car, take them to their appointments, wait for them and then bring them home.

We also charge by the hour – $35/hour – which allows for us to make multiple stops and get out of the car and help.

What’s our plan?

2019 is a foundational year for us where we want to build out the marketplace of drivers and riders in the Bay Area. We also want to build out the technology platform needed to automate and maintain our service. We are measuring our progress by rides per week and have a goal of 120 rides per week by the end of the year.

How’s it going?

We’ve been busy. We’ve expanded our team to 4 people by hiring two others who focus on our operations and our supply. They are Sarah Pontier and Ben Estevez and both kick serious ass.

We’ve also started doing rides. Our first ride happened in April. Now that we’re in Q3, we’ve done over 900 rides!

Our main channels for finding rides is to partner with assisted living facilities and hospitals, and also many find us via Google and Yelp when looking for transportation.

To make these rides happen, we’ve signed on lots of drivers. Our typical driver persona is a retiree who is very compassionate, looking to help others in their neighborhood and looking for part-time work. They all have CPR certifications and drive their own car.

We’ve built and released our initial version of both the Driver App and the Rider App. These apps help automate our entire ordering and matching process. Rides come in via our Rider app (or website or phone) and then get exposed to our drivers via the Driver App. Drivers can accept or decline any ride they see. In theory, rides will then occur without our team touching them.

How can you help?

We’d also love your help getting the word out to people in the SF Bay Area who have parents or friends who are unable to drive or need a little extra help getting to their appointments.

We also are digging more deeply into the healthcare industry and how we can help out there. If you are knowledgeable about insurance carriers or healthcare providers or know anyone who is, please reach out to me.

Thanks for your support –

Mike

Hunter Enters 1st Grade

I dropped off Hunter yesterday for his new first day of school. He’s in the first grade and his teacher is Ms. Fort. He had a great teacher last year with Mrs. Dale and we’re hoping for another good year this year.

School starts every day 8:15am and I’m pretty happy to get our morning routine back.

Hunter

My Week at the Poconos

I just spent a week at our family cabin in the Poconos and thought i’d write a little recap as it was a great trip all around. Some highlights:

Mckenzie and Tracey
Over the past 10-20 years it’s been tough to see Mckenzie during the summer as he spends a good chunk of it in Europe leading archaeological digs. This year he was able to join us after the dig but before the fall school session begins. It was really great to see him. As we get older it’s good to get a good number of days with someone to get a feel for their daily habits and lifestyle.

The big event that occurred was the proposal between the two. One beautiful Thursday night Mckenzie and Tracey went for a walk after dinner. While the dishes were being washed in the Glass House (thanks mom) Mckenzie presented Tracey with a ring he picked up in Florence and asked her to marry him!

We continue to get to know Tracey and she is really awesome. A highlight for me was arguing with her about the differences between Canada and the US and discussing the problems we have here in the US and what some approaches might be to fix them (not a quick convo, as you could imagine). I liked it because the conversation got heated in a way it can between people who like to argue and are family.

…and Georgia
Of course Georgia was in tow and it was really awesome to see Sasha and her (and sometimes Hunter) play together. Sasha and G are the same age (both 4) so they seemed quite comfortable with each other and their playing was incredibly cute.

Hunter did seem a bit left out sometimes but that’s to be expected when there’s only 3 (ahem, we need Reagan next time). But, the three of them did get some good play time in:

Kids and School
Now that our kids are getting older, we’re experiencing Summer break and the chafe that it is for two working parents. Hunter is between kindergarten and 1st grade and is off for the summer and we have to find things for him to do. We cobbled together a series of camps but this means that getting together as a family in the summer is much more logical than in years past

PLP
I haven’t been to my family’s cabin in the Poconos for almost a decade. It is so beautiful. The lake, the river and nature surrounding it are just awesome.

It’s also nice having my parents there and able to see and catch up with other semi-related folks. The cabins could be nicer (especially our Middle Camp) but it is great to have a place to go and have lots of family around.

Diane especially was a fan of the rustic nature of the cabins. Her childhood was spent traveling to Mexico every weekend and staying in half-built homes while they hung out with family and friends while enjoying the natural beauty of the ocean. She got the same feeling this past week, making the whole experience better for her.

We loved and plan on heading back again next year…

2018 British Arrow Awards

It’s becoming a tradition now for me and my family to go to the Walker Art Museum to watch the 2018 British Awards. It’s really pretty great to sit for an hour and watch the best commercials of the year.

This year it was noticeable about how many of them were about female empowerment (including the winner of Best Ad of the Year), which makes sense as it’s a topic capturing everyone’s mind share, everywhere.

My favorites of the year were these 5. They are pretty hilarious, cool, strong and, to use the British term, brilliant.

My favorite of the year was strange, ackward and just so funny. I have no idea what the ad is for but it’s still fantastic:

This next one is probably one of the funniest of the bunch, and I never even knew what Marmite was or that it could be so divisive:

This next one is really cute and captured our entire group. Even though it was the first ad we say, we all remembered it at the end

This one is just really cute and in the world we different it’s a great message of how kids don’t see color, race, etc.. Really well done

This one is just so epic. A move (the “tornado”) in a FIFA video game goes viral such that Ronaldo actually does it himself in a game and then goes even more viral to get other athletes to do it also. Really cool idea.

This final one is about the women’s Euro cup. The girl in the video just does a great job and is shows some great skill. Really liked this one

Cutting the Cord

This is the quarter that I finally got rid of my cable subscription. I figured I’m paying an extra 40 bucks a month for something that i really only use once or at most twice a week. That’s roughly 5 to 10 bucks a show.

So, I called and cancelled. We still want to watch SNL, The Good Place and Diane likes to watch HGTV shows sometimes so we subscribed to Hulu for $10 a month for all of the basic stuff.
I’m now four months in ($160 richer!) and with the exception of CNN streaming, I don’t miss it at all.
With Netflix and NBA League Pass getting better and better, I don’t see where the traditional cable bundle fits in anymore. And, according to all of the charts, i’m not the only one.
On a related note, I finally dove in and got Plex.tv up and running on a Mac Mini. It’s a pretty sweet setup where I can stream all of my videos I’ve collected over the years to my browser or iPhone anywhere at any time. I’m loving it so far.

Living is Getting More Expensive

I thought it was the bay area but looking at this chart below it makes more sense why I feel like it costs much more to live these days. Sure my television is larger, my car is faster and my shoes are better but everything else is much more pricey.

Oh, and I do know that it’s ALSO because I live in the Bay Area. Even though all prices are on the up, the prices here are beyond ridiculous now. See how crazy they are here.

Uber Eats is Crushing

From those I know who work at GrubHub and other delivery companies, they all claim that UberEats is doing incredibly well. As Uber eyes the IPO next year, I can imagine this being a secret weapon that pushes their valuation higher than most would expect.

There was a good article in this week’s Business Week about how Uber is helping create “virtual restaurants” that have no in-person customers but exist only to deliver on Uber Eats. Uber brings some unique insight into the demand for existing restaurants.

Google Duplex

If you haven’t seen this demo from last week’s Google I/O

Sundar says,

Our vision for our assistant is to help you get things done….A common theme across all this is we are working hard to give users back time. We’ve always been obsessed about that at Google. Search is obsessed about getting users to answers quickly and giving them what they want.

Google really wants to start doing things for you and Duplex was super impressive. It is, literally, a computer talking on the phone for you.

Check it out.

Elon Musk Email

In an email to employees last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained that the reason for the Model 3 production shutdown in Fremont and Gigafactory 1 is to prepare to increase production. Substantially

 
Musk explained that Tesla is now shooting to more than double production of 6,000 units per week across all production processes and suppliers in order to achieve 5,000 units per week in June.

The move seems to be in response to the recent miss in Model 3 production targets and is very bold in a Musk sort of way.

It’s a great email and I love how he evens gets low-level enough to tell people to walk out of meetings or phone calls if they aren’t well structured.  So good.

Continue reading “Elon Musk Email”

Older posts →