1/2 +1/2 = A Business Plan for LightWheels.com
In order to completely finish the process of building two, novel, human/solar/electric vehicles, and establish their production in quantity, a business is being formed to organize and finance this plan. This will initially involve the completion of properly engineered plans for the next models, thorough on-the-road tests of all current systems, and the design and installation of any indicated improvements. Ambitious Federal Government Infrastructure plans, as well as the many ongoing processes to bring urgently needed changes to urban transportation systems, by local governments, suggest that this firm should be established and needed work to be done as quickly as possible. It is being combined with a program to encourage a worldwide effort to encourage the further development of this type of vehicle and use, in order to improve the quality, and number, of preferable options available in urban transport.
This will be an LLC, and 33 1/3% of the enterprise will be owned by Steve Stollman, who has designed and built the prototypes of these machines and is also involved in determining their potential uses. (He financed and was one of the founders of the pedicab industry in New York City in 1994). He also has a detailed plan, to establish entirely new ways to use these new vehicles, in expanded and much more beneficial fashions. Half of any income earned by Stollman through this business will be provided to a non-profit program, established under the website www.AMovement.org, which will be used to expand this activity continuously. Another 1/3 interest will be held by the other designers and operators of these vehicles, with 1% interest provided to each of the first 33 designers, operators, and principals, who have contributed most substantially to its success. The remaining 1/3 interest in this business will be offered to others, when a proper legal framework has been established, who have agreed to provide the capital or services necessary to accomplish these goals. No investor will be permitted to own more than 3%. This method will generate $165,000 in total, which is enough to launch this effort. The original valuation of this enterprise will be $1 million. As this idea is turned into a reality, that valuation is expected to rise very substantially.
One existing vehicle, called “the Half”, is to be presented initially to the existing, worldwide, pedicab industry, as an alternative to their current equipment. This will be part of a package of services and include an app to connect with potential customers, a payment collection system, a tracking device, coordination with co-owners, and financing. Under this plan, participating operators would automatically become part of an International Cooperative, that enables these disparate businesses to function more profitably and sensibly. Since this design permits wheelchairs to be accommodated, this new system could provide important new benefits to various different diverse communities and engage in a variety of activities.
All vehicles must be well designed and solidly constructed, enabled to shift from one function to another, smoothly and profitably. It is likely that access to up-to-date communication and booking systems will be effective, in radically changing the character of their business. It will no longer only serve tourists and the well-off. This can become a key element in the management of urban traffic as well as improving the public’s regard for this profession. The current reluctance of many to use mass transit is creating a huge opportunity to craft healthier and more convenient alternatives, preferably not an infinity of big UBER town cars, but rather one that users value highly, for their comfort, availability, and responsible operations.
Providing financing and enabling operators to own their own equipment, rather than surrendering a huge share of their daily income to their current providers, can transform the nature of this profession in many countries. By serving fixed routes at times, rather than serving private parties exclusively, this profession becomes a virtual part of the public transit system. The expansion of capacity due to the use of electric helper motors changes this medium from personal transport to a smaller-scale version of mass transport. The transformation of this industry that all of this can bring should unleash a flood of support, from governments as well as investors. It is time to bring a new agenda to urban streets and a serious effort to begin to untangle the terrible mess that it often is. While technology, in the form of tiny motors and tiny devices, is certainly an important factor in helping these changes to occur, this is also going to require a major campaign to provide operators with an understanding of these new possibilities and how they can use them.
It might be that a contest, to encourage new designs, would be the most effective way to bring this activity forward quickly. Since there is room for an unlimited variety of potential configurations and approaches, the competitive aspect should not be paramount. The first target for this campaign would have to be educational institutions. Technical schools are most likely to pick up this challenge, but any educational institutions might be interested, or maybe simply a few students. Although the many rewards available through involvement with this activity are nearly unlimited, it will still be necessary to have prizes being offered to increase interest and serve our Pavlovian conditioning. $10,000 is being put up initially. Further contributions to this element will be invited, in exchange for some recognition. Another $10,000 is being provided now to publicize this “contest” and its purposes. This will also require the cooperation of some accomplished individuals, to contribute their judgments, to determine the “winners” of this competition. It is expected that this aspect of the program will not be the more important one and that groups and individuals will endeavor to take up this challenge, simply because it is so badly needed and so possible to meet successfully. on behalf of their own local community’s unmet transport needs.
The structure needed to administer this program can be minimal. Conditions in different places are so diverse, and far-flung, that a system is being devised to keep participants in touch and able to contribute to its development. This is not a business in the usual sense, since nobody is going to be compelled to be part of any larger institution. This is a resource, designed to evolve and grow as this work is accomplished. If it works well enough it could serve as a model for other efforts, to engage other issues with widespread roots. Finding the best ways to initiate the most creative approaches to solving our most daunting problems, as a species, is crucial to our eventual living conditions. It has been demonstrated that assigning the responsibility for important matters to the few who claim the competence and authority to direct these affairs does not work. Direct involvement by the many who are most affected by these matters, rather than distant control by the few, supposedly wise, may initially be more disorganized and, probably, sometimes even, at times, chaotic. Still, the potential of this activity to be transformational depends upon all of its components being fully represented and having a voice.
We know that the alternative, assigning special places to some individuals and giving them control over others’ lives, has become the rule, but it often causes tremendous problems, creates dangerous imbalances. It may be neater, but it is also problematic because it enables bad management to prevail without interruption. Psychologically, we may prefer this, and use this imbalance to justify our refusal to be responsible for what results, but this is a mistake. This can no longer be justified as a necessity since ongoing participation in decision-making is now not only possible, but essential, and not even necessarily expensive or complicated or difficult. Tempering self-interest with your particular profession or group’s interest is a necessary step, but only one element of the most important one, your ability to include everyone else in these calculations, the public interest. As a result, the ruling body of this organization, the Board, will be comprised of representatives from each of these components, designer/builders, operators, investors, and consumers, each of whom will have strong say in all decisions.
There do need to be some rules, but there don’t need to be very many:
Nobody should be unsafe due to any of the activities here. That goes for welders who should have the proper equipment to use, to passengers, who deserve a safe and comfortable journey.
Any conflicts between operators must be subject to a detailed review of circumstances and claims and all parties must agree to abide by the judgments rendered.
Operators may sometimes designate substitutes for themselves, but they must be trained and certified as drivers too, and must not replace the operators for more than 1/2 of the time. This is an owner/operator business.
Designers must test and certify the soundness of their vehicles before they can be put into use. They must also report any problems that occur, so the lessons learned from these failures can be used by all others
Determining how any actions were taken would impact the general public’s ability to benefit from this activity, must be an important factor in all decisions.
In the event that “territories” are adjusted and routes revised, operators must be willing to abide by these changes and work cooperatively with their fellow operators, to maintain a peaceful and mutually-beneficial relationship.
Any charges to passengers must be fair and reasonable, and no dispute can be permitted to descend into open conflict.
Operators agree to not disturb their surroundings, with loud noises, etc. in order to develop the most positive relationship possible with all of the others who share their space.
A portion of services offered are expected to be donated to the underprivileged, disabled, elderly, economically challenged, and very young, as a way to compensate the public for the use of its roadways and other facilities.