myTaxi goes America

The big (well) news today is that German startup myTaxi has entered the US market (article in English on GigaOm, German on I think this is very good news for several reasons.

Firstly, for once a German company is on the forefront, not the copycat. Let’s just say there was a propensity among certain German companies to copy any business (model) coming from the US and every time there was an original idea it stood out as such not due to the idea but due the fact that it wasn’t a clone. I hope this sentiment can be reversed.

Secondly, myTaxi is a great product that just works, and the company keeps on innovating the product, not just increasing their reach. I say this as an active user of the app although there is a very good cab service here in Hamburg with HansaTaxi. There are times of day and certain situations (if I have no cash on me e.g.) where I prefer a myTaxi cab.

Two interesting tidbits from the GigaOm article:

For one thing, the company seems to have the endorsement of the D.C. Taxicab Commission – a useful kind of thing to have, when you look at the troubles Uber has been having in ChicagoNew York and, uh, D.C.
“The D.C. Taxicab Commission welcomes any electronic reservation company such as myTaxi, bringing technological advancements to the District of Columbia,” D.C. Taxicab Commission chairperson Ron Linton said. “We are delighted that passengers using DC public vehicles-for-hire will enjoy the enhanced quality of service.”

I remember the This Week in Startups interview with Uber founder Travis Kalanick very distinctly not just for the great history lesson but also for thinking “your plans for Uber sound very good but I think you’ll run into problems.” Sure, it is a different kind of service but I kept thinking, culturally he’ll encounter difficulties (some countries won’t ask for his service) and did he do his research in terms of what’s already out there. Because myTaxi already was operating.

The article also mentions the cooperation between myTaxi and the Car2Go service by its investor Daimler:

So that’s the trick: if you’re out and about, and you need a car, you’ll use Car2Go’s app to find the closest one that’s available for you to drive. If you can’t find a suitable car, or you’re not in a driving mood, you’ll hail a cab through myTaxi, from the same app.

Great idea. I am pretty sure it would work in Hamburg. While they’re at it, they might as well launch a cooperation with the Bike2Go service in town. I wonder what this cooperation would mean for flinc.

Will the cooperation work in the US? I don’t know. According to Crunchbase, the Car2Go investment from the beginning of the year was €10m which should extend their runway a bit but maybe this expansion is also an indication for a new round coming/in-progress…

This Week in Startups – 180: The History Lesson

Like Ken Auletta’s Googled gave the backstory on Bill Campbell and the Google part of early 2000s, these 80 minutes with Jason and Travis Kalanick give you all the backstory of Scour (p2p music, even before Napster), Red Swoosh with Marc Cuban and other internet history stories.

Seriously, if you can’t wait for the Encyclopedia Britannica to update their section on The Early Days of the net, give this a listen.

next big thing: ToothTag iPhone App

Vor langer langer Zeit hatte ich mal so ein kleines Tool, was die Systemeinstellung des Rechners veränderte, je nachdem in welchem WLAN ich eingelogged war. Und so ähnlich kann man sich ToothTag der Firma NeuAer vorstellen – nur on steroids!

Ob WLAN, Bluetooth, Radio, oder NFC – all diese “Netze” können Auslöser für eine Konfiguration sein. Ob die Erinnerung an Schlüssel, Geldbörse und Kopfhörer beim Verlassen der Wohnung oder das Ausstellen der Rufumleitung beim Betreten des Büros. Oder in die andere Richtung: Ob die Erinnerung das Handy lautlos zu stellen Handy automatisch lautlos stellen beim Betreten des Kinos oder Couponing beim Betreten eines Restaurants. Anwendungsmöglichkeiten gibt es galore, ich stell mir das wie Apples Automator vor – nur mit Sinn.

Ich hatte ToothTag schon mal erwähnt, leider gibt es immer noch keine iPhone App dafür, obwohl es ein Developer Kit zu geben scheint
Für die Wartezeit empfehle ich ein Interview mit NeuAer-Gründer Dave Mathews auf This Week in Start-Ups.

This Week in Startups, Foundation: better audio?

As you know I love listening to Jason’s This Week in Startups. Too bad the audio version they offer is mixed too low – once you’re in traffic, forget about it.

I also love watching Kevin Rose’s Foundation series, but would prefer listening as well.

Do you think I should put out some audio with better adjusted volume and post it like I do for the Gillmor Gang? Any takers for this?

Rant-Academy Day 2: Why Michael Robertson is wrong

This Week in Startups #42 was great and filled with lots of insights until Robertson talked about Global Warming. How can he say it’s not worth it to put immediate effort into saving natural ressources and trying to market alternatives? Especially with his standing I’d argue he has a responsibility to be careful how hard to write things off.