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Lyft co-founder John Zimmer on reinventing the transportation experience

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In this episode, we are continuing our Inside Business Mastery series with an exclusive interview between Tony and John Zimmer: the co-founder and president of the massively popular ride-sharing service Lyft.

2017 was a banner year for Lyft. The San Francisco-based company expanded its coverage to 95% of the United States. And the number of rides per year reached a staggering 375.5 million, which is particularly impressive when you consider that the number was just 162.5 million in 2015.

Part of that explosive growth can credited towards gaining more market share from its biggest competitor. When customers saw Lyft’s values-first, passion over profits motives, many opted out of the dominant ride-sharing platform to start supporting the company with a social purpose. But for Zimmer, it’s not about unseating the competition. It’s about becoming a viable alternative to your own car, and ultimately, reinventing the entire transportation landscape.

Tony and John dive into John’s roots in the hospitality industry, the big problem with the existing transportation infrastructure, and how he’s on a mission to create a better service for everyone. Because disrupting the transportation industry is just the beginning – Lyft is set to pave a new path forward when it comes to how we see our vehicles, how we share rides, and how we can ultimately create a new network of transportation that is all about efficiency.


[01:30] Introduction
[02:50] Welcome John Zimmer
[03:10] Zimride
[03:40] John’s background: “I loved making people happy”
[04:30] The problem with the existing transportation infrastructure
[05:20] 96% of the time, a car is not being used
[05:40] The average cost per year of owning and operating a car
[05:55] Increasing occupancy, lowering costs
[06:00] How John met his partner
[07:10] Why Zimride didn’t work out
[07:15] An infrequent use case
[07:55] What if we were starting over, today?
[08:30] Taking early risks
[08:50] Building trust with the customer
[09:30] Personifying the vehicle
[10:30] When to know to make a shift
[11:50] Valued at over $7 billion
[12:00] Raising capital
[13:10] Finding success with investors
[14:05] What role each founder plays
[14:30] The biggest challenges – and how they overcame
[16:20] The difference between Lyft and Uber
[17:00] Innovating on products that benefit both drivers and customers
[17:30] Artificial intelligence and transportation
[18:20] Within the next 10 years car ownership becomes optional
[19:00] “Rooms on wheels”
[19:30] Tesla is collecting big data
[19:55] Lyft’s timing for driverless cars
[20:55] Where the business will be 5 years from now
[21:45] A miles plan on Lyft
[22:20] The average American household spends $9k a year per vehicle
[23:10] Maintaining culture and moving fast
[23:20] Preserving culture


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