Last year I shared two interviews with a paranoid (yet intriguing) entrepreneur named “Roger,” who was developing a technology called RoadRanter—a mobile app allowing drivers to connect with other drivers, simply by entering a license plate number. As Roger said, there’s only so much you can say with a raised middle finger.
I caught up with Roger again yesterday. An edited transcript:
WNEAS: So what’s the latest with RoadRanter?
Roger: Well, I’m on my third iteration. The first version connected with the other driver’s radio, and the second connected with his cell phone. They were both complete failures, which according to Lean Startup methodology, made them runaway successes.
WNEAS: What do you mean?
Roger: You fail, you learn, you pivot. What I learned from the first two iterations makes v.3 a surefire winner.
WNEAS: And what did you learn?
Roger: That if you call someone on their cell phone and say, “Hey, I’m the guy in the Pontiac Aztek behind you and you should move over and let me pass,” they think you’re a lunatic.
WNEAS: What’s wrong with that?
Roger: Well, any genius like me is used to being called a lunatic. But when you want to motivate a certain behavior, it helps to have a certain level of credibility. For example, as I’m sure you know, no one pays any attention to what a single blogger says.
WNEAS: Um, well …
Roger: But if you can reinforce your message through social media, it reaches its target audience with exponentially more impact and credibility.
WNEAS: So how does v.3 accomplish that?
Roger: Instead of simply sending your message straight to the target driver, RoadRanter now shares the message with other subscribers in the vicinity, so they can add their messages to yours. So instead of this terrible driver getting one message which he can dismiss as coming from a nutjob, he gets messages from an entire network which he ignores at his peril.
WNEAS: But won’t all these subscribers reading and sending messages make the highway more dangerous?
Roger: Of course! That’s why the entire platform is voice activated!
WNEAS: Voice activated?
WNEAS: So you’ve basically just recreated the CB radio for cell phones.
Roger: No, not at all.
WNEAS: Sure sounds like it to me—a bunch of drivers on the same channel yammering about traffic.
Roger: (Long silence.) This interview is over.
WNEAS: Ten-four, good buddy.