Thursday, February 23, 2012

PBS show Marketplace on bike commuting

Marketplace recently did a show on how bike commuting is becoming cool among tech companies: Techies on the cutting edge... of bike commuting (the bike commuting section starts at about 19:00; it should start there automatically).
Companies are in a race to outdo each other on bike friendliness. Google not only gives employees racks and lockers, the company will donate to charity if employees ride to work. Etsy's got an in-house bike mechanic. In New York, Foursquare just chose a new location for it's headquarters, based on where biking would be easy.

Dennis Crowley: I never think of this as going to work everyday. It's just, hey this is where I go to do the stuff I like to do and I ride my bike to get there.

When Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley was raising money from venture capitalists, he pedaled to pitch meetings.

Crowley: I might have got a couple of weird looks when you walk in and your T-shirt is a little bit sweaty.

Crowley got the money and his company is wildly expanding. For him and other tech CEO's, not having a place to store bikes in the office would be like building a suburban campus without a parking lot.

Crowley: It was not an option to be in a building where people would have to leave their bikes outside.

It's not just an amenity. For Foursquare and the other firms, having a bike-friendly culture spurs innovation.

Crowley: We talk about Foursquare as being -- as like creating software that helps people change the way that people experience or even use cities, and I think bikes do the same thing.

Mitchell Moss: Biking has become the mode of choice for the educated high tech worker.

Mitchell Moss runs a transportation think-tank at New York University. He says the company that can get the most creativity, and the most collaboration, will win in the 21st century economy.

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