Navdy: Think Garmin 2.0

I love the concept of apple carplay and the other in dash UI for cars, however, maybe the solution was right in front of us, but had the wrong software.  Why limit your UX while driving to hardware that came off the car manufacturing lot.  Meet Navdy: 

A modular heads up display, that allows you to use motions to interact with your digital lifestyle ( phone ) through maps, texts, and phone calls.  Gone are the days of reaching over to your dashboard mounted phone, and waiting for that new car with bluetooth display integration.  Garmins and Tom Tom’s were great, but they were single serving. Todays techie needs a screen above the dashboard that is easy to use and gives them instant access without having to be hard to navigate through its menu / interactions. 

Navdy is cool, but the more interesting observation is that these technologies have been around, but have not caught on due to price or the interactions were too broad to begin with. Leap Motion which has some amazing UX, never really solved a pain point.  Navigating your computer never really made sense, but navigating your phone while driving has always been an issue.  So much that many of us have already received tickets for driving and using our phones or just aside that policy was created to stop people from texting and driving.   

Will this catch on? I am not sure.  Is it better then anything else out there right now – yep.  I think the HUD will start to catch up, but I also wonder if there is a cultural problem still in place.  Maybe we should not be multitasking while driving at all? Its a mute point, but with that logic we should not have radio or bluetooth tech at all.   The other question is how much hardware do you need from a car, or should technology always be an add on accessory? Maybe that makes more sense. Cars are replaced every 7 years or so, where phones roll over every 2 years or so.  Maybe technology for cars should be modular and outsourced? 

Either way, it will be interesting to see how Navdy takes off.  Curious to see how the gestures work in real life, and how the resolution of the screen works and if there are any other criticisms that come to play once it starts being used by real people.  Kudos to the Navdy team for being disruptive AND creating something that is self contained and plug and play.   



4 Reasons to Hire People with Hospitality Experience

As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry, non-profit, and private industry, I find that people tend to hide their past if they have worked in the industry. I don’t think its anything to be embarrassed about – in fact, I tend to think the opposite.  So if you see a resume with someone who had to wait tables, or bartend, give them a second look.

Some of the most valuable life skills I have learned came from my days behind the bar. This is my small head nod to that industry and a small thank you for the people still out there.  Special thanks to the Pour Boys & The Professional Bartending School of Arlington VA. 

Here are a few reasons why I think Bartenders or Servers are amazing hires in other types of jobs:

1.  Humble: 

You learn a certain amount of respect and patience for people when you work customer service.  This applies to any other job that involves people skills.  After being yelled at or completely ignored, I tend to make sure to say hello to everyone I meet or work with. It goes a long way to recognize a person in the midst of doing any type of business.  I am always confident that someone with customer service background understands how customers want to be treated, and how I personally want to be treated as well.  They are often really good team players.

2. Great Multi-taskers – Entrepreneurial:

You have to do everything when you work in service. There is never a down moment. You clean, cook, make drinks, and entertain.  One of the first things you learn in bar-tending for efficiency is to use two hands. Double the service means, more tips, etc.   You end up working smarter because its in your own self interest.   Each bartender is in charge of building their customer loyalty base so that they can bring in a few extra bucks every night of the week.  They are self starters and responsible. If my till ( cash drawer ) did not match up at the end of the night, I was responsible.

Lastly on this point, they do awesome under pressure.  I remember when I started my design job at GW I had 2-3 requests at once.  Compared to having 10-20 drunk people yelling at you, it was a piece of cake.  You just learn to prioritize, organize, and execute.

3.  Infotainment Masters & Storytellers: 

Bartenders are notorious for entertaining and educating their guests about anything.   They have to sell themselves, the product, and make the customer feel special at the same time.  This is the foundation of customer service – helping a guest and fulfilling a need.  They are able to create, think outside the box, and think on their feet.   One could almost venture to say that Bartenders end up as “User Experience” (UX) system designers.  Every night they prototype experiences for several groups of types of people, over and over and over.

4.  Never Boring

They always have a story – or 50.

5. Bonus: Karma

Bartenders support us all throughout our entire life. Graduations, Birthdays, or just those really crappy days.  They are always there for us, and barely ever ask for a thank you.  Most people work with them transactionally, and a few lucky of us get to experience the culture and develop relationships.   And the people are amazing.  I feel that people always want to put public service on a pedestal, but customer service should be a subcategory of that.  Hospitality IS public service by definition.

I am truly lucky to have worked with so many people in this space, and learned so much from them.  I still am inspired by the space, and feel fortunate to have friends that still work in the industry.

Hope this gives some perspective to those of you who have not been a barista, waiter, or bartender in your lifetime.

Cheers – PD





Mobile Data as Compensation – Teens

Yesterday on the Caltrain, I heard a bunch of teens discussing their “Mobile Data” Allowance.  They ranged from having 3GB of cellular data, to being on a family plan of 4CB, etc.  One child remarked that he had already used up 90% of his plan, and that he would have to pay his parents if he or his sister used up the rest before next week.

What I found surprising is that how access to data in this age is often talked about as an asset.  I bet that almost all of those kids would not be able to live without 3G so they could watch their youtube clips on the train.  If given the choice between money for a data plan, or a data plan, they would pick the 2nd.  

The insight here is that users are open to many forms of compensation. Often data, access to scare content, or other perks can be just as good as money.