The Northeast is being slammed by Winter Storm Stella. So far, Oneonta has received about thirty inches of snow. Did everyone get their bread and milk? Let me share my Oneonta Snow Adventures, followed by a business model to crowdsource snow removal.
Oneonta Snow Adventures – The Commute
This morning, I woke up an hour and a half early to prepare for the oncoming snow. I’ll be honest, with how mild this winter has been, I wasn’t expecting the forecast that was predicted. Call it optimism, call it self-deluded dissonance reduction with a pinch of confirmation bias, either way, I woke up this morning casually prepared for snow. What I discovered was, pairing up with my “optimism,” was only a moderate dusting of a few inches. I had no trouble getting out of the driveway, and other than taking it slow on the roads, the drive was not unlike any other.
My commute is normally eleven minutes from my driveway to my desk, give or take about a minute. This morning, it was doubled. Fully confident in my ability to traverse this weakling of a snowstorm, I delayed my departure and still had time to pick up donuts for the team who also braved the elements to make it into work. I arrived to work early, but no team did the same. In fact, only one-tenth of us made it. Curious, I thought, but relished a morning without distractions.
Although the roads weren’t great, they were manageable. I’ve heard it said that if you know it’s going to snow, just prepare and get up a little early and get to work on time. Don’t use snow as an excuse. Be an A-player. This A-player was there with bells (and donuts) and that made me a champion of productivity and diligence.
Oneonta Snow Adventures – The Return Home
By 11:30 the call was made to go home. It was still snowing, and several more inches had accumulated. This time, the Normandy (my car’s name is the Normandy) didn’t make it as far. I found myself stuck on the side of the road about half a mile from work. Fortunately, two separate guys in the same number of separate trucks stopped to help me out, and I was back on my way. By the time I got to the west side of Oneonta, I decided to pull into a gas station and evaluate my strategy. I had four options:
- Turn around, go back to the office, and hoof it for what might be the rest of winter without my 3DS, laptop charger, or protracted bathroom habits.
- Divert myself to a nearby employee’s abode, and again, hoof it without the quality of life that I am accustomed to.
- Risk it all and make my way home.
- Do nothing.
It became quickly apparent that the forth option wasn’t going to qualify, since every few minutes that I did nothing, my car needed to be brushed off. My coworkers were very supportive, offering the use of their truck owning boyfriends/husbands to intercept me, but the ETAs were about as visible as the road. I made a daring call and decided to drive to the next gas station a half mile down the road. From there I will watch for a passing plow and follow it to my apartment. I live on a state highway, after all.
I did so, and the plows did not come. I queried gas station customers, especially those with pickup trucks and plows, on the direction they were headed. Then, the customers stopped appearing. I was still receiving concern and well-wishes from my faithful, compassionate team, but these were not getting me home. Finally, hope broke through the thick clouds, and I was offered up a husband with a truck who could get to me within thirty minutes. By then, it was about 2:30, and the manager of the gas station was getting ready to close due to the weather. I was cold, wet, and my butt itched. It was time to go home.
I ditched the Normandy. Even now, she’s currently resting in over thirty inches of snow, cold and alone, without her man inside her. We both knew it was going to come to this – her final resting place was a snow drift, and she was done stuck good.
That said, I made it home, thanks to the valiant efforts of one Brian who offered to leave the warmth and comfort of his home to brave the elements for his wife’s president. You sir, are a true hero.
The Lesson Learned
I learned something today, and it’s that sometimes being an over achiever sucks and can fuck everything up for everybody involved.
Oh, and also, while waiting around at the gas station, I came up with a great business model:
Million-Dollar Idea: Uber but for Plows. Plowdsourcing.
Since I announced this new venture on Facebook, I was informed that such an idea already exists, but I think I’ve polished it a bit further.
Just thinking out loud, I determined the problem with this business model is there wouldn’t be any kind of revenue during the rest of the year. Instead, it’s anywhere between 5-14 days per year where plows are in high demand. Sure, folks might have their own plow, but they are going to be at capacity already. My gut tells me nobody with a plow was looking for work today.
A solution would be the company stockpiling plows, which wouldn’t be very economical either; a lot of storage, truck maintenance, etc, just for a few days of the year. It would probably be too expensive for a nearsighted consumer to even consider paying for with any revenue model outside if “I need a plow because I forgot it snows here sometimes.”
Oh, got it. Automate it. Robotic, driver-less, automated plow drones.
No, that won’t work. People are concerned with their jobs being taken away by machines and automation. We need to bring the jobs back to America. Plus as soon as one of these plow drones scrapes the paint off some guy’s KIA, there will be lawsuits and hell to pay.
The answer to that is to remove vehicles from the consumer, which has always been a good idea since humans are, as a whole, uncoordinated, hulk-fisted lumps of distracted muscle spasms. First, we take all cars and trucks away. That will clear up the roads. We replace them with automated pods that shuffle around smart roads. Then, you don’t even have to own a car. You pull up where you want to go and when you want to leave on your app, and the system coordinates a pod to show up. You sit in it, try not to defecate on the floor (remember it’s not yours) and it takes you to your destination. We’ll charge a flat rate for all Americans for basic travel from work and local travel, and extended fees for commutes and long distances. Oh, and if you simply can’t help yourself and you leave your garbage or fecal matter in the pod, you’ll get a hefty fine.
Heck, this will handle our courier and shipping services too. Pods can be used for transporting people and packages at once. The system could quickly reroute pods as needed.
Accidents will be a thing of the past. You simple won’t have them because humans won’t be driving. The system can use less energy, produce fewer emissions, and completely revolutionize the way we commute and even give lower income people the opportunity to travel.
Back to people losing their jobs though… With shipping, driving, and all car-related industries being taken over by Pods, some folks might feel like they no longer have a point in society. Fortunately, we have a solution for them too. Pods at Home. If you lost your job because of the Pod revolution, we’ll ship a special pod do your house. You simple climb in, and enjoy it. You can sit inside it as long as you want. Come out when you are ready to face an evolving world. Pods at Home will include online community college courses that you can take to become functional in a car-less society. We don’t recommend you try taking your college course while inside your Pods at Home Pods, since that’s literally just a opaque plastic egg-shaped box we expect you to sit in until you decide to be a functional member of society.
What do you think? Will you back my Kickstarter?