We announced yesterday that Robin Chase, best known as the founder of Zipcar, has joined our Board of Directors. You can read about why we love her and she loves us in our press release.
Also check out her Ted talks to get a better feel for her passion and how freaking cool she is.
I am really, really excited about this. It says so much about how we define ourselves and how we want to challenge ourselves. I also think it says something about what we have accomplished.
When we first started building Ting, we talked a lot about the sort of brands we wanted to emulate. Right from the beginning, that list included Zipcar, as well as ING, Netflix, Etsy and Skype. In my mind, each of these brands did three very special things:
– They challenged and ultimately redefined something that we had all pretty much been doing the same way for a long time. Car ownership and even car rentals. Banking. Watching movies and TV. Buying commercial goods. Making a phone call. They forced us to consider whether that traditional way and those traditional providers might be costing us more and giving us less.
– They made us feel like we were part of a movement. Something about the way they handled themselves made us feel like we could affect their services and made us proud to tell other people about them. In fact, we did participate and affect their services. We also did tell other people about them, fundamentally changing the way marketing worked (and didn’t) going forward.
– They leveraged the Internet heavily to create greater experiences and value.
(As for my typical personal side note, I also relied very heavily on Zipcar at a crucial moment in my life. We had two kids in fourteen months in Manhattan. I owned two big honking Britax car seats but no car. It was just too insanely expensive to own, park and insure a car. But we needed to get out of the city to breathe as often as we could. Zipcar brought us to Fire Island, Vermont, the Berkshires and all these awesome northeast places that made us feel reasonably human. I even wrote a passionate letter to Zipcar once that earned me a job interview. It turns out I was looking for a CMO position and they were looking for someone who could carry boxes of merchandise to street events. Funny story. I told Robin about it. She laughted and patted me on the head.)
With Ting, I think we have done some of the things these great brands have done. We have rejected so many of the conventional ways of doing mobile service, from pricing to interfaces to support. We have respected our users. But I know Robin is going to tell us that we are still not thinking differently enough, that we can be uncovering much more value and collaborating much more with our users. I am nervous and excited to have such fresh, qualified eyes on our business.
Please welcome Robin to the Ting family.