Lee Marshall is the co-founder of www.ridekicks.com, a place for car sharing within social networks that includes market and gaming mechanics to promote good user behavior. Lee and his co-founder, Rohit Mistry, started the innovative digital startup to disrupt the car sharing space by focusing on excellent usability and creating a peer-to-peer booking and payment facility for users to share and review rides and pay for spare seats in their friends’ cars. Ridekicks is hoping to become the destination for users seeking economic and environmentally friendly travel and to promote peer-to-peer ride sharing.
What are you working on right now?
We going to be releasing a major upgrade to Ridekicks that will enable users to start their own personal groups on Ridekicks, so users can share rides with their own friend group(s) more easily. We are also working on a grouping functionality for schools, colleges and companies, while also working on our game mechanics, so that using Ridekicks becomes more rewarding
3 trends that excite you?
Open data — I believe all governmental departments should be required to publish all of their data. We have seen some departments opening their data to the public in the UK, and so far it’s been a hugely illuminating exercise. The potential for societal improvement, because of improved transparency in political decision making and delivery of services, really gets my juices flowing. I wish I could be involved.
Peer to peer philanthropy — People spreading wealth among themselves to improve each other’s lives will become a huge part of modern society. As our digital footprints become ever larger and local communities are bought online, I think peer-to-peer lending will take off. It’s a ripe market for a social network plugin. Zopa.com and Wonga.com are really exciting ideas, but they are separate from where people actually are online. Someone should be exploring peer-to-peer lending within Facebook.
Mobile Web — Assuming the speed of innovation in the mobile space continues over the next 10 years, I can’t see any reason why we won’t soon reach a point where needing a household broadband for a high speed connection becomes defunct. You can already stream Sky Sports and BBC iPlayer live on a 3G network, so I don’t see any reason why, with time and technological innovation, every household in any country could be online without needing a phone line. The democratization of opportunities that might bring globally is unimaginable right now.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By including other people. Rohit and I talk a lot on MSN, on the phone, by text or in person. Finding a partner that you can spark with is key. Historically, it’s very rare that a great idea comes fully formed from one person’s head. When it’s all kicking off, some of the discussions can be a bit like Jazz or blues jamming. Getting it out the door is when the hard work really starts.
What inspires you?
Other’s great acts of accomplishment or humanity. I’ve been listening to podcast lectures about Quantum Mechanics recently, too. It’s mind blowing stuff.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Sometimes I am too excitable. Knowing when to be calm is an important skill. I’m still learning it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Apart from the one I gave away earlier … If someone could make an app that made trading stock and playing the markets as easy as buying shoes or online betting — and by that I mean understandable in two minutes by someone like me — they would be hugely successful.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
A retractable pencil. I love those. And, anything I can write on.
What makes you happy professionally?
It’s the little things. Knowing that everything is lining up perfectly and you can see what seemed to be an impossible task is actually going to happen or that moment when you have a little brainwave that solves a problem. Oh, and listening to “The Boss” while working on something.
Why this company, and why now?
Honestly, it just sort of happened. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” — John Lennon