If you have to deliver bad news it helps if you are not ugly.

Thought Merchants' message to E-Scooters.


Jan 29, 2020


Steve Berry

Full disclosure: I love the scooter economy. It's cheap. It's convenient. It reduces cars on the road. It reduces emissions. There's a need for it, and I'm all for it. I use it all the time.

But they are so, so ugly.

Los Angeles has always been infamous for terrible traffic; it can take an hour to travel 6 miles. Everyone understands change is required. For example, the $6.6 billion subway line. These subway lines are great...if you live within walking distance, but most of us do not. Subway line density is low in Los Angeles, and usually, a rider needs another last-mile assistant to complete a trip successfully. Sorry transit network, no bueno.

The latest candidate in this race for mile occupation is electric scooters; a perfect solution for areas where lines and automobiles cannot reach.

The first version of Bird was a prototype and the second version looks pretty decent. But now, the newer models are wrapped in this cheap plastic that keeps breaking and is bulging in disproportionate ways.

They look terrible.

When we observe Lime's designs, their candy-coated neon green stripes and little green lime icons feels a bit silly.

Let's not forget about Lyft. Loud pink ombre retro stripes.

What we have here is an urban blight that is starting to affect the overall landscape of what it means to be a city.

Scooters are now delivering bad news to the existing paradigm of car transit -- which I think is a really good thing! But, there are lots of people that are not yet convinced or straight up, against the "clutter" of these scooters on the streets and sidewalks.

The division of space on a road and sidewalk is limited for pedestrians and bicyclists. After all, Los Angeles built their roads for cars and so by forcibly adding scooters into that limited real estate creates tension. The fact that scooters are heinously ugly is not helping their cause.

A company recently told a very large established industry some terrible news, yet, the public fawned over and embraced their product. You might be familiar with Tesla. Their cars are beautiful.

The time and energy Tesla spent designing their products paid off. And for an equally controversial company, Tesla is having a lot less public resistance in comparison to the scooters.

If all the E-Scooter companies can just take a moment to reconsider the visual experience they're creating for the cities nationwide, the payoff will be worth it.

Reliability is important, yet, why make it harder than it has to be?

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