A Bike Named Tarzan

Following Emiliano’s advice from yesterday, “Always validate your ideas in front of users,” our team took to the streets to pitch our idea and see if people responded to it.

Zev and I worked together to interview people at the DMV, a recreation center, and a park this morning. The park was our last stop and we attempted to approach a large group of people playing music and drinking beers at noon. They wanted nothing to do with us and shut down our plan of getting lots of interviews in one location quite quickly. After getting denied that interaction, we turned around and decided to approach two men sitting at a picnic table under a huge tree. That’s where we met Earl.

Earl was a warm, pleasant man with lots of opinions, lots of quirks, and a bike named Tarzan. He gladly answered our questions and even answered questions we had not even asked, but he wanted to make sure we had the answers to anyway.

After the interview, as we were thanking Earl for his time, he said “I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. I should try to help out those behind me.”

While he wasn’t convinced that the public transit system or our idea would work for him personally, he thought sharing his knowledge could help others later on and that’s why he agreed to be interviewed. He felt heard. Even if it came to nothing, he felt that his opinions mattered and that someone was trying to do something to help others, so he shared.

Approaching people this week for interviews has been difficult at times. To invade someone’s space and someone’s routine for your own agenda was a big ask. We got shut down trying to approach people quite often, but when we did get to talk to people, I think it was rewarding for both sides. We were getting great feedback, data, and insights, and they were getting a platform to express their opinions and to be heard. Our interaction with Earl was a great reminder of that.

I will leave you with one last Earl quote: “Before Aretha died, she said ‘I did my job.’ She did her job, ya know, paving the way for others and helping others out.”

While I may never be an Aretha or even an Earl, I too want to leave the world better, to pave the way for others, to help others with pain points big and small. After being in AC4D for just a week, I believe that I can get there.