For those of us students who don’t have a car, there are three options for venturing off campus to go sweat publicly at the Grove: get a ride, bring mace on the Metro or call an Uber.
However, as a resident of New Jersey, I am fully aware of how scary it can be to put your life in the hands of strangers – or in the hands of a friend from Jersey.
So I took it upon myself to devise a company to rival Uber – a safer, friendlier transportation conglomerate to usher our UM students to the Candyland of cigar smoke and gang violence.
One freezing-cold 70-degree afternoon, I strolled over to the Launch Pad, the University of Miami’s entrepreneurial advising center in the UC, to present a lucrative business idea: Newber.
This is a useful (and totally original) app you can download on your phone that allows you to send me a message so I can come pick you up – anytime, anywhere (unless there’s traffic). It’s a more personalized Uber – only I refuse to play country music. There will be no country music. Period.
But anyway, I approached the Launch Pad’s program manager, Adrian Alvarez, hoping for some advice or his own thoughts on my brilliant business model.
“The thing about us is that we never tell you what to do,” Alvarez said.
See, The Launch Pad was already telling me things no professor ever had.
“We guide you in the right direction. There are no good ideas or bad ideas in here – only ideas. This is a no-judgment zone.”
A no-judgment zone sounded like the right opportunity to propose filling the backseat with puppies and rainbows, but I decided to just garner some rudimentary advice instead.
“The important thing is what the target market actually says about it,” he said. “Figure what it is that they want – the most successful companies solve a problem.”
Okay, so I needed to locate and then survey my target market. Who relies the most on private transportation to maneuver the city? Nailed it: freshmen. This would be a perfect opportunity to compete with Uber in the local market.
“One Uber driver bought us McDonalds at 4 a.m.,” said Ashley Forbes, 19.
Alright, so a catered vehicle … I can handle that. I have enough Ramen to go around. What else you got for me, Poober?
“My favorite driver is the guy with the big white van,” said Samantha Shedd, 19.
Well then, one creepy white minivan coming right up! I mean, I didn’t think students preferred an automobile that was big, white and had a “Free Candy” sign…but, hey, judgment-free zone. Plus, I could feel myself getting closer to usurping Uber.
“We all hate the price surge on holidays,” said Gina Panarese, 18. “They charged like double on Halloween.”
BOOM – the weakness I was scavenging for. I’ll just maintain the same low prices all the time – and maybe even on my birthday. Then, on Halloween, I’ll charge in candy. But if you pay me in Raisinettes, I charge quadruple.
Wow, I’m so prepared – Launch Pad truly steered me in the right direction. Speaking of steering, does anyone have a car I can borrow? Perhaps a van?
Danny New is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. As The Miami Hurricane’s humor columnist, he writes “The Maturity Column” once a week.