Having just moved to the Phoenix area I have had to make quite a lot of adjustments but the observations have been priceless at times. I learned that the area is referred to as ‘The Valley” because that is physically where we live in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. Where I live in the valley of the sun is Old Town Scottsdale, which is the downtown section where you will find a concentration of restaurants and nightlife. Old Town has been referred to as South Beach in the desert and if you have been to South beach, this is an accurate label. Although, it certainly is not much by some other larger metro are standards, Old Town is kind of the middle ground between the South in Tempe where ASU resides and the high-end golf courses and resorts to the North.
Strolling thorough Old Town on a weekend, I noticed there were a lot of golf carts humming around making that noticeable noise from a low powered engine. It seemed odd for a semi-urban landscape. What was even more unusual was when a nice driver stopped to ask me if I needed a ride? Why is she offering me a free golf cart ride – I said, “No thank you”. I didn’t find out until later but this is a ‘free’ service where a cart will take you anywhere in Old Town free of charge just make sure you ‘take care of them’. Witness, a multitude of cart-driven, 1 person entrepreneurs running through a 10-block radius. Much like Facebook (FB), carts have grown organically where they will pick you up at your apartment or wherever you are at the end of the night. Basically, existing on tip dollars and the faith that people won’t take advantage of them. Judging from the amount of carts running around Scottsdale Thursday-Saturday, they are doing just fine. 10 years ago, we had e-mail but not FB. Then Zuckerberg got the idea to setup a free social connection website was created and here we are still not paying for probably the most used site on the planet. In new business terms, the system of creating something from nothing and charging nothing creates something of great value. We all know in today’s new market, if you can get eyeballs or ‘users’ you need to give things away and value will come in getting that attention because people=value. Just like getting a free ride to dinner in Scottsdale isn’t free but if you’re a user of FB or any of the other numerous ‘free’ sites. Just think of it as a free ride that FB clients and shareholders pay for and provide to you!