Why You Should Avoid Coconut Oil

We have many times been told that plant products are much healthier compared to animal products when consumed. But, Randall Isenberg, attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, notes that an important thing to remember is, “Not all products that come from the plants are safe for consumption.”

To date, there are over 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be among the healthiest foods on the planet. But the American Heart Association recently did a research and came up with a list of both good fats and bad fats; surprisingly coconut falls among the bad ones.

Replacing artery-clogging saturated fats with healthy vegetable fats—can be as much better for you just as taking a statin drug.

“Scientific studies, which reduced intake of saturated fat and swapped it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil, lowered cardiovascular disease by about 30%; similar to cholesterol-lowering drugs, referred to as statins,” The American Heart Association said in a presidential advisory.

These professionals stress the word “replace.” Meaning that they don’t just mean “cutting the bad fats.” Instead, they emphasize adding the “good fats,” like soybean, corn, and peanut oil.

There is one recommendation that may surprise many people: even though coconut oil comes from a tree, it isn’t a particularly healthy fat.

“Numerous researchers found that coconut oil, which is predominantly saturated fats but widely regarded as healthy — increased LDL cholesterol just the same way as the other saturated fats contained in palm oil, butter, and beef fat.” explained the American Heart Association advisory that was published in the journal Circulation.

The other possible surprise that was realized from the study is that “All fats are a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In their explanation, The Heart Association stated that polyunsaturated fats lower the risk of heart diseases the most, and then followed by monounsaturated fats. However, Saturated fats “are the least desirable.”

Saturated fats are commonly found in tropical oils such as coconut, and palm oil. And this is enough reason for you to reduce the intake of coconut oils.

This is the contrary of what you require for healthy arteries.

Another older study found that coconut oil dramatically decreased endothelial functioning and impaired the antioxidant capacity of (HDL) cholesterol for at a minimum of 6 hours after consumption.

This implies that the person who eats such a meal—if done on a regular basis—would be raising their risk of suffering from a heart and stroke.

One tablespoon of coconut oil, (weighing about 13g), contains about 113 calories and is 100 percent fat.

The report is so much essential as in most industrialized countries; heart diseases are responsible for the largest percentage of deaths.

For instance, “in 2014, approximately 808,000 people in America died of strokes, heart disease, among other cardiovascular diseases, translating to almost one of every three deaths,” the Heart Association emphasized.

American College of Cardiology and The Heart Association also advise anybody with questionable cholesterol readings to reduce intake of saturated fat to just 5 % of the total calories.

Will Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Disrupt the Grocery Market

With the news that Amazon plans to buy the grocery store chain, Whole Foods, who has more than 460 stores, there is all sorts of speculation going on, such as, whether Amazon will dethrone Wal-mart in the grocery kingdom. Wal-mart has nearly 10x the footprint, not even counting Sam’s Clubs, so this doesn’t seem likely, especially given the fact that Wal-mart has expanded their “Wal-mart Grocery” order and pick up service. However, more and more consumers prefer the convenience of store-to-door services and are willing to pay an annual fee to get free or cheap shipping on items. This acquisition could be just the beginning of a new era for Amazon, who seems to be lapping up opportunities like a giant, power-hungry, Pac-man, that Trump will never be able to stop, in spite of his anti-trust concerns about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.

 

With this move Amazon could revolutionize Grocery delivery, but it is unclear if consumers really want that or not. There will always be a segment of the market that prefers the tactile experience of handling fruits and vegetables, setting eyes on breads and meats, smelling the various aromas and going to Costco to try all the samples! Delivery for groceries is definitely not as much of a no-brainer as electronics or other non-perishable items. In other industries such as logistics, there are companies like Freight-Tec (freight brokers), who have a unique approach to logistics, but there is also a unique need and demand for their services. Amazon, while revolutionaries in other ways, may not completely disrupt the grocery market, because there just may not be enough demand to accomplish that, although they will certainly introduce a service wanted by a good handful of consumers.

 

It may be that more and more of the rising generations, who have been raised in a digital world, are more open to a non-tactile grocery buying experience. If this turns out to be the case it is possible that Amazon could disrupt the industry more even than most analysts are currently speculating they will. As these generations become parents, they may also be looking for more and more ways to carve out family time in the midst of their busy lives by cutting out those exasperating trips to the store. These younger generations also tend to favor the types of groceries Whole Foods offer.

 

Until now Amazon’s attempts at fresh food delivery have included false starts and more like a testing ground, without huge successes or effectiveness, but this deal promises to change all that. With Amazon’s history of successes, there is no doubt that they will make the acquisition of Whole Foods, there biggest yet by a huge margin, ($13.7 billion in cash) a huge success. Only the Twitch acquisition even approached $1 billion. The questions that remain are how successful will it be and will it lead to other acquisitions in the grocery area. Will it eventually fundamentally change how most of us buy groceries or will it remain a minority (Wal-mart owns roughly 18% of the grocery market share) in the overall share of voice in the grocery market.

6 Ways to Impress During an Interview

When you are going for an interview, you’re probably aware of all the cliché advice: come prepared, dress well, research well by reading books among others. Marc Anidjar, attorney and co-founder of Anidjar & Levine, P. A. says it’s important to remember that it’s your skills that matter, more than your knowledge. “It is the skills you get from the books that will earn you a job and not the number of books you’ve read.”

But beyond these obvious tips, there is one crucial way which you can impress the interviewer and get an increased chance of landing the job: just show how good of a cultural fit you’re for that particular company.

What does this mean exactly? Well, in an interview, ensure that you create an image of yourself that proves that you’ll adapt to this culture.

“People aren’t just hiring you for that particular position, but they are also hiring somebody who’s going to comply with their culture,” says Samantha Ettus, who is highly experienced, after working with various companies including Target, Google, Yahoo, and more.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Work on your handshake: Do not offer up a sweaty or flimsy hand. Instead, when you meet prospective employers, offer a firm handshake—with 1-2 pumps from the elbow to the hand. It is a good way to express your confidence and commence the interview on the right note.
  2. Be serious: If you take your casual approach to the initial interview, you may be sealing your fate. Therefore job seekers should handle every interview as if it is their one and only opportunity to sell themselves to the recruiter.
  3.  Show enthusiasm: go to an interview with a positive attitude. Most interviewers won‘t even think twice about somebody who has a negative presence. “You are selling yourself, by expressing the positivity that you‘ll bring to the office each morning,” explains Alison Richardson, who is a recruiter for various New York financial organizations. “That friendly demeanor and smile go a long way.”
  4. Be inquisitive: When interviewing for a new vacancy, it‘s important to have some questions to ask the potential employer. The questions could include: What are some of the possible challenges?  What do you consider to be the ideal requirement for the position? Do you’ve any concerns which I need to clear up so as to be the top candidate? What is the most significant thing I can do to assist within the first 90-days of my employment?
  5. Show restraint: in an interview, what you avoid saying may be as important as what you say. As a rule, do not talk about benefits or money, especially during the first interview. Instead, you should go to an interview already informed if you fit the parameters. Do not badmouth your past employers. Companies don‘t hire complainers. More importantly, don‘t mention outside part-time jobs or career aspirations. Employers are looking for guys who will be part of their organizations for the next decade and beyond, and not the “trial-and-error” characters.
  6. Tell a story: the interviewer not only want to know exactly about your experiences and skills but also he or she wants to know more about you. However, don‘t shift from routine answers to stories; instead, work your answers into anecdotes or stories about yourself. People recall the individuals who are interesting, therefore, prove your value by sharing stories which address the primary concern an interviewer may have—what can you do for us?

Having observed the above tips among other relevant requirements, you will be well on your way to landing the job you truly want.

Maximize your current digital presence – Leave everyone behind in the digital era

If you’ve clicked on this post, it can be well assumed that you’re looking for some help with the best ways in which you can get the most out of your digital assets. Competing for attention is pretty difficult in this digital era as everyone has their best strategy through which they’re competing with each other. The million-dollar question is how your company can cut through the clutter the reach its target audience at the perfect time by offering them their required information. It takes some patience, testing and optimizing and if you’re searching for the ways in which you can maximize your digital presence, you have to be valuable. So, how are you going to augment your online presence and visibility? Here are few strategies that you can adopt.

  • Make sure you optimize your website

Only creating a website will not do as you also have to maintain the website as this is one of the most vital branding tools for any business organization. The foremost thing which a company can do to drive traffic to a specific website and enhance the visibility of the brand is website optimization. So, if you’ve still not optimized your website, it’s high time you do so.

  • Embrace the social media for maximized visibility

If you still haven’t invested in social media marketing, you’re lagging behind as this is one of the most cost-effective ways of promoting both large corporations and small businesses. Without embracing the social media, you can never gain maximum exposure as the entire world is online on the social networking sites. With social media marketing, businesses can easily compete against each other with an advantage and they can even reach out to worldwide audiences.

  • Produce timeless, relevant and good quality content

If you didn’t know that creating good quality content and distributing it is the best way to attract highest audience, you’re probably ignoring the most important part of online marketing. Unless you’re able to produce high quality content and promote it in the best possible manner, you can’t create brand recognition online. This is indeed essential for any successful content marketing strategy. Hire a good content writer who has enough experience in writing high quality content.

  • Press release marketing can be used

Press release distribution is an indeed inexpensive and effective way of improving brand visibility and online recognition. If the press release is chosen by Google News, your company will thereby receive added coverage for your brand.

  • Make use of video marketing

Regardless of the size and scale of a business, it can always benefit from video marketing like Vimeo, YouTube and many more. Make sure you post branded videos which are relevant to your niche and explainer and demo videos of the product as this is a lucrative way of promoting business, driving traffic to website and getting your brand recognized.

Therefore, if you’ve been worried about obtaining the best marketing results, make sure you adopt the above mentioned digital marketing strategies to make the most out of it.

Author Bio:

Cameron Francis is CEO & Co-founder of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne’s #1 Creative Agency & Digital Marketing Company. For over 10 years he has helped thousands of businesses improve their Digital Presence and Online Visibility.

 

The 4 Most Common Legal Defenses for DUI Charges

Everyone who likes to drink and drives a car should be aware of the most common defenses for DUI charges. Even if you don’t feel impaired – or if your test was a fluke – you may find yourself unexpectedly facing criminal charges. A working knowledge of common DUI strategies can help you know your rights, and will also help you determine when the officer who pulled you over may be trying to get you to incriminate yourself – even if you did nothing wrong.

1) Miranda Rights

 

Anyone who’s ever watched a cop show knows the beginning of their Miranda Rights. But despite the fact that the rights are well known, the officer who arrests you for DUI still has to inform you of your rights before interrogating you – as Los Angeles DUI Attorney points out. If they don’t – or they only tell you a part of the warning – then you have the makings of a defense that could get your case dismissed from court. It will certainly allow your lawyer to get some of the evidence dismissed, which will help your case immensely.

Remember that you have a right to legal counsel when you’ve been arrested, even if the police don’t finish reading you your Miranda Rights. The police are there to try and make the case that you broke the law. You don’t have to cooperate with them, even if they try and coerce you.

2) Improper Stop

It’s important to remember, when an officer pulls you over, they need to have Probable Cause. This means that they can’t just start pulling people over randomly and administering DUI tests – they have to have a reason to pull you over, and another reason to ask you to take the field sobriety test.

The original cause of the stop doesn’t really matter to the DUI test – you could be pulled over for running a stop sign, for example. If the officer then suspects that you’re over the legal limit, they can ask you to do a sobriety test. But they cannot do it without probable cause.

3) Existing Medical Condition

This defense doesn’t apply to everyone – but if you have an existing medical condition that can give the appearance of being intoxicated, then your lawyer will use a medical condition defense. Some of these conditions include diabetes, which can make the person seem erratic; acid reflux – which can cause a higher reading on a breathalyzer test; or some motor injuries that would cause a person to perform poorly on a field sobriety test.

If you have a medical condition that you think could have affected your sobriety test results, be sure to mention it your attorney.

4) Mouth Alcohol

Certain medical conditions and dental fixtures can cause a breathalyzer test to read a higher blood alcohol content than is really accurate. Things that can contribute to residual mouth alcohol – dental bridges or crowns, acid reflux, dentures, and other things can get alcohol caught beneath them when you drink it. Likewise, if you just consumed an alcoholic beverage (within the last 15 minutes) you may read higher than is accurate as well.

Police officers are supposed to ensure that 15 minutes have passed before administering a breathalyzer on someone they’ve pulled over to minimized the impact of residual mouth alcohol, but this doesn’t always happen.

 

5 Types of Car Accidents Everyone Should Know About

Everyone who drives has either seen, or been a part of a car accident in their travels. Maybe you’ve seen some people stranded on the side of the road – or you’ve been redirected from a road because it was blocked by some sort of crash. Regardless, car crashes can be inconvenient for everyone involved. And while they can all seem similar at first, but according to Jason Baril, a car accident lawyer in Tennessee, “Car accidents may seem – at face value – all the same. But not only are there all sorts of ways to get into an accident, there’s a big difference between the types. Knowing the basic difference between the different types of accidents will help you know what steps to take after you’ve been in one – legal, or otherwise.”

So whatever the cause of the accident, everyone should be informed about the different types, and their possible consequences.

Rear Ended

One of the most common accidents is rear ending. This is where one car hits the rear bumper of the car in front of them – typically because of unexpected braking on the part of the front car. Usually, the fault for these accidents is on the part of the inattentive driver who hit the car in front of them.

Side Impact Collision

Also called a T-Bone, these collisions happen when one car strikes the side of another vehicle head on. These can happen at various types of intersections – usually when one car ignores regulations, such as stop signs or traffic lights.

Rollover

These car accidents can be more serious than others, as they can cause the driver and passengers injuries when the car turns on its side or on its head. These can be caused by a multitude of things – anything from taking a turn too fast – which would only affect one car – to hitting other cars, and involving other drivers.

Side-Swipe

These accidents are very common on highways, or any sort of street that has more than one lane running next to each other. Most side-swipe accidents are caused by drivers not checking their blind spot before trying to change lanes, which results in the two cars hitting each other in the side. These accidents – like really any type of accident – can vary in severity, damage, and injuries caused.

Head-On Collision

Often the more severe accidents are head-on collisions. These, as the name implies, are collisions where two cars run straight into each other directly. These can happen when cars try to pass another car in a lane of traffic going the opposite direction. They’re also caused by inattentive drivers swerving into oncoming traffic.

Rise in Cybersecurity Risks Leads to Massive Increase in IT Security Jobs

There has never been more demand for IT professionals with the proper security credentials and experience. These jobs are going to be the main part of the tech industry market for the next five years at least, but it is becoming only more difficult to find professionals in a market short on candidates. There is a big discrepancy between supply and demand in data security, which is only fuelling the creation of more IT data security jobs.

Sudeep Dharan, the chief technology officer for Acendre, believes that the problem boils down to two things. First, there needs to be long-term workforce planning that can anticipate what is needed and find the staff for the job. Second comes engaging and developing talents that are already working for you. You never know; you might have had a diamond in the rough this whole time without realising it.

There is some thought that must be put into planning ahead and getting and retaining the best talent on the market. The modern job trends show us that there is a higher preference for flexible work and the average tenure at a company is lower. Businesses have found themselves struggling with accommodating for these needs. It is up to organizations to be proactive in their approach to workforce planning and should avoid just looking to recruit and fill the available jobs.

There is currently an extremely competitive war for tech talent in Australia at the minute. Things are so rough that many organizations are looking to fill their gaps in critical skills by looking offshore. It takes a lot of effort and resources to pull in the best in tech talent. It also takes a focused and targeted approach. It doesn’t matter how great your recruitment efforts are if you don’t have a great onboarding strategy to support it and bring talent in.

To keep it short and simple; organizations must look for the right talent at all times and grab any good talent they come across. The IT tech market is a buyers’ market right now. Grab all the talent you can as soon as you can, or someone else will get them. This doesn’t mean you should take just anyone. Doug Walker, an employee of One Identity, an identity & access management software company, went through 7 interviews and a testing simulation before being hired. Hiring the wrong talent can cost companies millions of dollars.

The keys to retaining talent once they have been recruited are developing and training them. Training and development programs must be in place to keep employees satisfied and ensure they stick with the organisation for as long as they possibly can. If you aren’t providing them with the satisfaction and growth that they desire, they will find another employer who can do that for them.

Organizations must also consider training to be a continuous and ongoing process. It takes never-ending investment. As the technology an employee uses evolves, the teams using the technology must evolve and adapt to it. Millennials in particular will not stick with a company that doesn’t offer them sufficient training and allows their development to stagnate.

When an employer sponsors and supports training events it shows their staff they are actively investing in the professional development of employees, and it also benefits and protects the organisation as a whole. Continuing to train your staff ensures they have all the skills they need to tackle any challenge that might befall the organisation.

The old days – where employees would spend their whole working life at a single company – are gone. The modern worker prefers to work for the companies that excite, challenge, and reward them. They won’t work for a company just because it happens to be the oldest, largest, or supposedly most desirable organisation in their field. Many people actually prefer working for high-risk start-ups because of the fast pace things move at there.

On the other hand, an organisation will inherently place a high value on an employee that matches their strategic plans. They need employees they know will fit their needs. Sometimes this just isn’t possible without the organisation engaging these employees and creating organisational missions, values, and visions.

It is absolutely vital that the onboarding process of a company clearly states the values of the company and that companies take employees who want to work for them. The next step is to ensure that these employees are satisfied. Check-in on their satisfaction and promote it through processes and activities such as reviews, team-building exercises, and by offering them flexible working conditions. This ensures the staff there to improve organisational performance are the right fit for the company culture.

There are a range of challenges businesses face when they hier local IT talent, but there are also ways to overcome these challenges. One of the big challenges facing Australia right now is that there is a major lack of cyber-security skills. Other countries, like Japan and Mexico, have much more talent available. Even when attempting to entice employees by offering them higher wages, there’s only so much that can be done with a lack of local talent.

The shortage of talent does more than just burden other employees and increase their workload; it also compromises the security of their data. The Australian government recently pledged $1.9 million to universities to combat this shortage, and it is certainly a good start, but it really isn’t enough solve the problems that exist today. It is an investment in the future.

Some suggest that it is possible to take advantage of the immigration ban issued by President Trump to acquire cyber experts no longer welcome in the US. This approach might sound a little drastic, but it does also highlight an incredible opportunity businesses can take.

Organizations should be considering offering incentives such as visa support and accommodating for team structures based on contractors. There are shortages in talent in places like the UK and Canada as well, which is why Australian companies need to be vigilant and competitive in their approach to recruiting talent while getting government support.

Sidecar Acquires Austin Rideshare Community Heyride; Takes Rideshare Nationwide

Sidecar (side.cr), the leading on-demand rideshare community, announced today it has acquired the assets of Heyride, Inc, an Austin-based rideshare community. Sidecar uses smartphones to connect everyday drivers with a car with people nearby who need a ride. The acquisition immediately builds out Sidecar’s operational presence in Austin in time for SXSW 2013. Already popular in San Francisco and Seattle with more than 100,000 connected rides, Sidecar will begin rides in Philadelphia, Austin and Los Angeles this weekend and is actively recruiting drivers in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Boston.

“We’ve heard from people across the country and around the world that they want the Sidecar community to take root in their cities and towns,” said Sunil Paul, CEO Sidecar. “Heyride’s talented team has developed a unique design and experience that will help take the rideshare movement we started here in San Francisco nationwide. We are thrilled to welcome Heyride to the Sidecar family.”

Sidecar and Heyride have a shared vision for empowering communities to solve transportation problems. Heyride’s world-class user experience and design team will join Sidecar’s product team to focus on creating an outstanding experience for Sidecar drivers and riders. Heyride’s assets include its critically acclaimed iPhone application for ridesharing available at Heyride.com.  Founded in 2012, Heyride was born out of the team’s frustration with the limited transportation options during the city’s SXSW festival.

During its initial launch phase Sidecar will be available for drivers and riders Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm – 3am in West LA, Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City in Los Angeles; and downtown Austin and Philadelphia. Expanded hours and days will follow as the community grows. Sidecar is actively recruiting drivers in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington, DC. Drivers can sign up to be part of the community at www.side.cr/drive.
 

How Sidecar Works

Sidecar matches everyday drivers with a car with people nearby who need a ride. It’s like getting a ride from a friend or a neighbor when you want it. Riders place a request to share a ride by setting a pick-up and drop off location using the Sidecar app. Once the request is accepted, drivers can be viewed approaching in real-time. Riders can make a voluntary donation at the end of the ride.

Sidecar has many features in place to keep riders and drivers safe. All Sidecar drivers are pre-vetted for safety. All rides are tracked and passengers can share their progress and ride status in text, email and social media. Donations are made through the app, so the entire experience is cashless and hassle-free. The Sidecar community sets and enforces high standards for safety and quality. Drivers and riders rate one another and people with low ratings are removed from the Sidecar community. Sidecar’s safety features can be found at www.side.cr/safety

About Sidecar

Sidecar (side.cr), the leading on-demand rideshare community, uses smartphones to connect everyday drivers with a car with people nearby who need a ride. It’s a safe, affordable, convenient and fun way to get around the city. Founded in San Francisco in 2012. The company’s investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Spring Ventures, Huron River Ventures, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures and others.
Drivers can sign up to be part of the community at www.side.cr/drive.

Under the Hood: A Look at Sidecar’s On-demand Logistics Infrastructure

On-demand deliveries may be the loudest space in tech right now, but they have also become a topic of debate. Fans love the convenience of an instant mobile experience for everyday tasks like getting a ride and ordering dinner.

Critics however, pan companies in this space as unregulated VC-funded fictions or Webvan 2.0.  To be fair, more than a little of that sentiment is deserved. However, I think the following quote (and the stature of its author) illustrates how split we are on the long term outlook here perfectly:

“I think there’s just an urban mythology out there that an [on-demand delivery app] somehow changes the basic cost input of the logistics business or changes the patterns or the underlying business situation and that’s just not–that’s just incorrect. So great company, great concept [in reference to Uber], but I don’t think it’s…likely to be a major player in the logistics business”  – Fred Smith, CEO, FedEx

This is certainly a very damning statement from someone who ought to know. So what’s the root of the disagreement here? After all, it is uncontroversial that on-demand delivery services are about half the cost (and half the time) of the quickest comparable delivery from FedEx. You can get food from Caviar, EAT24, DoorDash, Postmates, etc. (some of which are actually delivered by Sidecar Deliveries) for about $7, but a FedEx same-day delivery will cost you $16.

But is that simply because VCs love losing money to buy growth?  Are these prices a fiction?

Mr. Smith is correct in stating that our delivery app doesn’t change the cost of taking something from point A to point B, no more than our ridesharing app does. However, once there is a network of such app users in place dispersed around a city at all times, they are able to do wonders, especially when the cloud can predict, observe, and optimize every step of the way. When everyone is connected to the Internet all the time, people can work together in shockingly more efficient ways than was previously possible.

As I intend the newest iteration to our logistics infrastructure to demonstrate, the on-demand economy represents a fundamental change to how much these services cost, the reliability and speed with which they can be deployed, and in general, what is possible when it comes to getting things on-demand.

With that, let’s take a closer look at what’s going on here:

A Multi-modal Delivery Network

Despite our roots in peer-to-peer ridesharing, our fleet is not exclusively made of cars. As we began to scale deliveries, we realized that cars are actually not optimal for many deliveries in an urban environment. Today, depending on a number of factors, when you place an order with one of our partners, it is delivered to you via some combination of cars, bike couriers and walkers. Each of these modes has predictable strengths and weaknesses: bike couriers can’t carry a huge volume of food or drink, but are FAST over short distances, walkers take zero time to park but can’t move distances greater than 0.25 miles (they must hand their goods to a different mode at one point or another to get the item to its destination). The ability to intelligently decide which mode works best at which time, and path-find between multiple modes, is a powerful cornerstone of the Sidecar network. While other startups also do this type of optimization, Sidecar recently announced we combine walkers and cars or bikes for a particular delivery, which was even greater impact on efficiency.

Yield Prediction and Location Efficiency Management

The next piece is more subtle, but equally important. Every city we operate in is broken up into 0.25 x 0.25mi “grids”, and our data and operations teams work together to predict how many orders are going to come in over each grid, each day, every 15 minutes.

Additionally, the data group observes the locations at which parking is difficult (i.e. any restaurant along Market Street), which our algorithms then take into account to determine routing and which delivery mode(s) to effectively utilize.

Our Routing Algorithm

The routing algorithm is the heartbeat of our on-demand infrastructure. In compsci terms, it is solving a new class of problem: a traveling salesman problem modified with ordered pickups and dropoffs and deadlines. Most importantly, however: in our context the problem is not static. An optimally-routed system will become sub-optimal once the next person orders a ride, or some a burrito, an emergency auto part, etc. This obviously has tremendous impact on complexity of solution, and continued optimization on this front is where we spend a LOT of time.

This is the stuff of an algorithmist’s dreams (or nightmares). Every car, bike courier and walker on the Sidecar network is not on one ride, or one delivery per se. Rather, they are assigned to an ordered set of multiple waypoints each with individual deadlines. They might be picking up two orders at the first location, dropping one off at the next, picking two more up at the third, and so on and so forth.

These waypoint sets can be assigned or reassigned on the fly, as optimality is recalculated.

As new orders come into the system, the algorithm assigns or reassigns them while taking into account prescheduled orders still needing to be dispatched.  The goal of the system is to maximize driver efficiency and minimize confusion due to reassignments, all while targeting a 95% on-time percentage.

Take for example a San Francisco driver with someone’s groceries in her backseat who is headed to deliver them in Lower Nob Hill. An order is placed for a hot food delivery and the pickup is roughly along the driver’s route. The algorithm now has a decision to make: offer this order to an available driver in another neighborhood, or dynamically insert it into the occupied driver’s itinerary. In this case and in many like it, the already-busy driver ends up being the best choice for this new work as they gain efficiency while only adding marginal incremental drive time to make the pickup.

Putting it All Together

So what’s the punchline here? Well, efficiency translates into price, and a low price for on-demand deliveries means that you can get more and more things delivered on-demand without being cost prohibitive. Let’s walk through a peak demand evening and see what happens:

Let’s say a particular 0.25 mile x 0.25 mile grid has a number of on-demand enabled restaurants, bakeries, medical marijuana dispensaries, etc. on it. Let’s also suppose that, over 60 minutes, the sum total of all orders placed to locations inside this grid is 20 deliveries.

 

If this isn’t a first time spike in demand, our forecasts would indicate that walkers should be placed in this zone in anticipation of this volume. In this situation, let’s say that eight of the orders were headed north of the grid in a relatively clean group, and eight were headed south in another clean group.

In this case we should expect two walkers each to pick up eight orders as quickly as they can, and hand each batch of eight to a different driver, who will arrive once the walkers are projected to complete their last pickups. Additionally, for the outliers, one or two bikers will come and pick these up and drop them off.

 

All this works with the labor economics of the local market. In San Francisco, walkers need to make $16/hour, drivers make $22/hour and bikers make $19/hour (and they are all in the area already). At peak, a fully loaded car can drop off six packages/hour while a biker can do four/hour. Therefore, fully loaded everyone gets paid including our 20% commission at $6.90/delivery. It seems too cheap to be feasible, but it’s not;  the key is that 0 effort is wasted by any person in the network, and additionally, no vehicle spends ANY time doing something inefficient for that particular type of vehicle. Drivers don’t park, walkers don’t move large distances, bikers don’t take too many packages, etc.

Now that these pieces are all stood up together, all of sudden, you can transport things across the city from any point in the city to any other point under the right circumstances for $7, in under an hour, which despite what my colleague at FedEx previously stated, is a marked reduction (again, the cheapest two hour FedEx delivery in SF is $16), in cost. These costs aren’t a fiction, they come from increased efficiency of all parts of the network, as well as being able to utilize a network of drivers, bikers, and walkers that are ALREADY in the area for simply the portions of the deliveries they are suited best for (i.e. making the pickup, driving a batch, etc). Contrast this with the status quo of driving dedicated cars into the area and then driving them (a “dead-head”) all the way back and it is clear what is happening. Simply put, the on-demand contractor model, especially when different types of contractors are working in tandem, is a much more efficient one when it comes to these kinds of hyperlocal deliveries.

This is far more than a convenient experience with a slick interface. Sure, some of the fundamentals are the same. People need to make the same amount of money for the same amount of work. However our technology enables us to work together more efficiently than was previously even imaginable. When we take a moment to look, we can see that the changes in our technological capabilities are driving a fundamental shift in what is possible in the on-demand logistics world, and therefore consumer behavior at large.  The larger question is, once this kind of network exists everywhere in the world, what breakthrough services will the world build on top of it?

Ride on!
Jahan Khanna, co-founder and CTO of Sidecar

Why we sold to GM

Yesterday news broke of General Motor’s acquisition of Sidecar assets. Why the sale? In short, we were forced to shut down operations and sell. We were unable to compete against Uber, a company that raised more capital than any other in history and is infamous for its anti-competitive behavior. The legacy of Sidecar is that we out-innovated Uber but still failed to win the market. We failed – for the most part – because Uber is willing to win at any cost and they have practically limitless capital to do it.

When it was clear we needed to sell the company, it was important to the board and me that we continue Sidecar’s spirit of innovation and land Sidecar employees in great jobs. Finding a buyer like GM fulfilled our goals. Once the term sheet was signed with GM in December and the strategy was clear, we ceased operation of our ride and delivery operations and focused on closing the deal.

With the acquisition of Sidecar assets, GM gains the team and technology to accelerate their mobility plans and grow their new mobility offering into a world-class transportation service. The key component to the transaction is a license to Sidecar patents*. Sidecar retains ownership of those patents.

What’s next for me?  I’ve chosen not to move on with the GM team, and instead take a break before starting my next thing. It feels almost unbelievable to me that four years ago ridesharing didn’t exist. I’m proud to have led the team at Sidecar. Together we profoundly changed transportation for the better, inventing the technology that enabled the entire category like instant peer-to-peer ridesharing, shared rides, back-to-back rides, shared ETA, driver directions, and so many more.

I wish every member of Sidecar all the best. GM now has one of the most innovative, fastest-moving teams in Silicon Valley working for them.

Sunil Paul

Co-founder & CEO, Sidecar

* Sidecar holds the US Patent #6356838 for “System and method for determining an efficient transportation route” and has other patents pending.