Thanks for visiting UrbanCommute blog by me, Stevie Lee!
First off, well done on finding this blog! You can’t find this on a google search as i’m keeping a low profile.
Secondly, this blog is a central reference for myself and the journey of life and business.
Don’t expect anything fancy, its just like any other blog/diary, so… Enjoy!
13 January, 2018
Happy new year! Spent time with the family on the East Coast of Australia. Great times as usual! Hope you had a great time also!
One thing I was concerned with growing up was being too small and i didn’t really like it. I couldn’t go on some rides at Australia’s Wonderland in Sydney at the age of 16. But when i was 26 years old i travelled to Germany. My mate who was 6ft 2in, just arrived and was tired and saw. First thing, he said to me, it must be great being small. I initially was taken a back and thought he was joking. I asked thats a weird question, why do you say that? He said ‘that was the worst flight ever! The seat was so tight I couldn’t sleep and felt claustrophobic’. It was only at that moment I realised for the first time it was good to be small!
Why am I say this? So as you may have noticed I’m starting a scooter business. The scooters are small and nimble and can get you places swiftly and can be folded up neatly under the desk. Another thing I have thought about recently is, less is more. I feel i am a bit of a hoarder and have the most random things. A shoe horn i never use, extra bits of sticky tape I may need for that one time something needs to be stuck. I keep things ‘just in case’. The good thing is, they aren’t big things. I’m not sure when i will get rid of this hoarding habit but will be good when i do.
Anyway, reason for this blog is… Smaller could be better… see article below.
Enjoy and peace out!
21 December, 2017
I turned down my first sale.
So why am I telling you this when one of my objectives is to sell scooters? Because of a few things:
- The guy found a great deal that I could not beat
- The electric scooter he found was similar to mine
And here is the big one…
I’m not here just to sell scooters and make some extra cash. I am here to educate and inform people how much fun it is to use electric scooters. I see the scooter as a tool to improve the fun factor on those boring short walks to get somewhere. These short walks are in all our daily lives, why drag them out? you could make them enjoyable!
I encouraged this guy to buy it as I couldn’t beat that price. He is using one and that is key.
Those who know me know, I make the most of every moment, I live in the moment, every single scoot i am living life. I lived in Bondi for 2 years and commuted on a adult Micro scooter. I did 15 km round trip per day, around 70km per week and around 2,800km per year. I amassed over 5000km. The time taken to commute was 25 mins to city and 30 mins back (its a slight uphill to Bondi), I kept fit and I saved time in waiting for the bus and being stuck in Sydney peak hour traffic. Speaking to time saved, if I was to calculate the 5 mins waiting for bus, plus the 10 minute bus to Bondi Junction, another 5 mins wait for train and 15 mins to Martin Place, this was equivalent to my scoot time. PLUS i saved around $4.20 for bus and train per trip (which is around $33 per week, which is around $1,300 per year).
Anyway, getting a bit carried away.
So, to all you commuters, enjoy the ride, whatever your commute is and let every day be a new adventure!
14 December, 2017
Found an interesting article on Scooters…
4 November, 2017
I went to a meeting the other day on Artificial Intelligence and a key message I got from meeting was… change the way you ask the question and the solution will change, basically, rethink the initial question. We were asked to draw a vase to present flowers on a post it note. So we all did. Some drew curved ones, some drew one with multiple vases within vases. Next, the presenter then said, scrunch it up and throw it in the bin. Some kept theres and some did throw it out. He said now present the flowers in a way that appeals to someone in a home. So we all drew different things. I drew a table, with grass, a light (to show off the colours), a fan (to waft the scent around room) and placed near a window to show a background. It looked like a large ‘vegie patch’ on a table. BUT key message was no longer was i tied to the idea that flowers must be in a vase.
So back to commuting, I asked myself, what was i trying to achieve with house swapping? I was trying to minimise commute to work. Was house swapping the answer? Possibly, but maybe not. So i’m throwing it in the bin!
I have rethunk the commuting aspect and taken the direction of using electric scooters to assist someone in current commute. I have been using scooters, both electric and manual (leg powered) to get around Sydney CBD for around 4 years. I have probably done around 7000+kms in total. So I have changed tac and going down the electric scooter path to see where this leads me.
I have tested this out on a few people and they love it. I feel this has more purpose and meaning… time will tell.
I took my room mate for a scoot across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and into the city. He said this was awesome! He tried selling the scooters but he found it hard and he said to me, people just have to do it first and they’ll like it. Hence the new page ‘Test Ride’. Lets see how this goes…
21 May, 2017
Life changes quickly. So I have been trying to do house swapping app. Its been tough. I believe my ego got the better of me and was trying to hard to make such a big change to peoples lives when they didn’t want to. Business is an interesting world. It makes you look at things completely differently.
So the last 7 months since the last blog, I have reduced app development on TempSwap (still a registered business) and looking into assisting people with App development and selling electric scooters…
I realised sometimes you really need to take a break. So I’m going to rest up. Its been a hectic week.
19 December, 2016
Another interesting read about Sydney and laws being ‘made up’ to stem flow of bed and breakfast hosts. Very difficult for councils to track. But interesting nonetheless.
18 December, 2016
Latest news on AirBnB in Melbourne on short term leases and the losing battle of locals and councils against short term leasing:
16 October, 2016
In other news, just want to clarify temp swapping (home swapping):
Home swapping is NOT my idea, check out history by clicking HomeLink:
Also google the movie Holiday with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Jude Law. They swap their homes between UK and USA. Question: Can this same process apply to renters? Would renters like the opportunity to live wherever they want? If I was 18 and someone created this mobile app, I would’ve signed up straight away!
TempSwap is doing a few things:
- Making swapping available to renters
- Making swapping available to young adults and learn to live away from home
- Make housing and swapping affordable to young adults
- Questioning the way we look at our homes (see TempSwap values and mission pages)
- Questioning the way we commute to work
- Questioning our lifestyle choices
- Questioning why we need more cars, more roads, more buses, more trains, more planes, more houses?
- Can our Earth sustain our rate of consumption?
- Could house swapping break down cultural barriers?
- Could house swapping increase our face to face social interactions?
16 October, 2016
Came across The Minimalists! Amazing! Basically freeing ourselves from consumerism and materialism. I have Instagrammed, FB’d and twittered them. Fingers crossed they get in touch.
Check out click THE MINIMALISTS
ELON MUSK If you some how read this…
I also tweeted a challenge to Elon Musk ‘you get us to Mars, TempSwap will make sure Earth is sustainable till you get there. Deal? I wonder if he will take it on? I wonder if he reads this or he has a ‘tweet’ personal assistant? or social media technician?
15 October, 2016
Are mobile phones really that BAD for you? Is society losing touch? Are we just trying to ‘mother’ people? Are mobiles simply books’ of the new generation?
I had an interesting conversation the other day about the effect mobile phones have on children. I have heard this statement many a time, it goes like this:
‘Kids are zombies these days, walking heads down looking at these screens’
Now I have been thinking about this on and off for a very long time, probably since mobile phones came out, btw I would play rotation (for those that remember) on my nokia for hours. So what did we LOVE to do before the smart phone came out? Before I come to that question, lets think about what a smart phone does and what we use smart phones for.
- communication – texting, whatsapp, viber etc…
- making phone calls
- checking social media (I would expand this to ALL, but you get my drift)
- ‘surfing the net’ (is this term even used anymore?) – reading articles, news, blogs, looking up Wiki.
- playing games
The smart phone is used for a variety of things and so people spend more time on them. So I believe this is a sign of the times. We shouldn’t suddenly decide to ban them and complain about it. I have to admit, I’m more traditionalist and have some house rules ie: NO TV during dinner, no drinking while eating dinner. So I think its sometimes good to put in place some house rules. I think its important to be in the moment with family and friends and give them ‘real life attention’. That said, i’m learning to be flexible.
So what came before the phone? I compare smart phones to books. PAUSE.. DEEP BREATH… READ ON…
How can I compare books to the iphone? First of all, freedom of speech, I can say what i want. So thats a lesson grass hopper. so back to my point. YES I’m comparing smart phones with books.
The answer is simple: The way we read books is the same way we read smart phones. Hands to our faces and heads tilted forward. Back in the day, we would walk and read and bump into people. Quite similar to smart phones. Its just in a different form and lots more to do in one little device.
So its time for the older generation to deal with it. Yes, set some guidelines for your children with no phone at the table, don’t play with phone while driving, BUT the argument about phones not providing.
We are simply assuming they are playing games. BUT what IF the child was reading the latest article on how to play the piano or how to play soccer or how to be a good team player? We can’t assume this, so its time to let it be.
A small piece of me thinks its the ‘book companies’ going out of business and not making as much money anymore, so its driving revenue down and profit margins are lowest they have ever been. IF you are reading this and you work for a book company like ‘Penguin’ or ‘Scholastic’, time to get with the times (i’m sure you are). Build smart ways of getting your books online.
Another separate question. Why should we BACKUP earth? Simply put, all the inventions and progress of the last 100,000 years would be wasted. Here is a tabbed rough backwards timeline (i’m sure there are heaps of great inventions, but at 4:30am these are all i can muster):
- Smart phone
- Space Travel
- Car, buses, motorbikes (btw, I think we have too many cars on this planet)
- Basic Tools
You get my drift. We have evolved so far, why let it all go to waste? We are at an amazing time, possibly a time that may never happen again, so we should ‘Back this all up’ as Elon Musk says. Due to our greed, marketing, WANTING IT ALL, we are consuming this planet at a rate NEVER seen before. This could be far fetched, but WE ARE THE MACHINES. The machines have learnt to multiply, the machines have learnt to live longer, they are getting smarter. SO if we are the machine, lets start thinking about how we should not ACT LIKE MACHINES! Repeating the same process, getting angry when we don’t like change. I have worked in computers for over 15 years. The way code works is these things called CONDITIONAL STATEMENTS. True and falses, yes’s and no’s, black and white. The highly available use of phones has possibly caused us to think like robots. We as humans are possibly becoming the machines. You’re probably thinking, ‘BUT, we have organs and tissues and a natural makeup thats not machine like’, my question is: Are our brains wired differently now? By following the ‘CROWD’ do we not suddenly form biases and not have flexibility built in to us that allows us to be flexible.
While on topic of space travel, its no different setting sail on the ocean to the ‘end of the earth. If pioneers never dared to try and cross the oceans, we would never know that the world is round! To the astronomers star gazing. We would always think we are the centre of the universe, but we are from it. ITS time to move on!
Elon Musk, if you are reading this, you get us to Mars, I’ll try and make this Earth a little more sustainable through an app and teach kids to think big while ensuring they don’t pollute the earth and give you (or your successors) enough time to get us to Mars and beyond.
Business Model Lecture from Harvard i-Lab Link HERE
Business models to disrupt the current ecosystem of businesses.
Since the last post, Collaborative Consumption, the sharing economy and peer-to-peer marketplace buzzwords have appeared on the radar. These studies started 2008 but sharing was not an in thing till around 2010.
TempSwap contact TED Talk fellowship, Chelsea Sheilds Strayer
TempSwap was fortunate enough to have cultural anthropologist Chelsea Shields Strayer gave us her input regarding TempSwap and home swapping. She notes she has:
‘NEVER met an intolerant person that has spent significant time living in other cultures’
TempSwap has conducted a wide range of research into reducing the time spent in commuting, in particularly the commute to work.
Living closer to work is the number 1 response to reducing this time.
Thus, temporary swapping places of residence is a solution we at TempSwap believe is achievable. In this age of the sharing economy, it is timely that swapping places is a possibility.
There are currently more spare rooms in Australia then ever before. In 1976 there were 3.1 people per household in Australia, that has since fallen to around 2.6, yet the average number of bedrooms per dwelling has risen in that time from 2.8 to 3.1.
Below are a few articles relating to home ownership and commuting issues
Renting vs Home Ownership
The home ownership for those aged 15 to 24 only 22 per cent own or are buying a home, while 75 per cent rent.
A measure of housing affordability is the per cent of income spent on housing. In March 2015, an average of 31.5 per cent of income was spent on home loan repayments, while renters paid an average of 24.8 per cent of their income.
Click HERE for full article on the Australian housing market facts and figues by ABC News.
Commute from Penrith to Sydney
The cost of a daily train ticket varies depending on where you are coming from, but as an example, a weekly ticket from Penrith to Sydney (approximately a 45 minute journey) costs $52; a yearly ticket will cost $2,080 (as of January 2014).
Sydney Commute Times
Here is a general guide to travel times into Sydney during peak hour from major commuter towns:
Public transport: 2.5-3 hours
Car: 3 hours
Public transport: 1.5 hours
Car: 1.5 hours
Public transport: 1 hour (express train)
Car: 1.5-2 hours
Article from the US
Assumptions of commuting costs
Key Variables to calculation
- Ts = (Tc x Petrol) +(Tpub x bus ticket) ie: (20,000 x $100 +(20,000 x $52), = $2,208,000
- Te = Ths x Gaw (400,000 x $15 = $6,000,000)
- Tr = Tpub/Tc (2000/29,795)
- Tco2 = (Tsd x Akm x Cco2)/kgs(20000 x 50 x 170)/1000
Ts = Total Savings
Te = Total Earning Capacity
Tas = Total number of swappers (4000)
Tswaps = 20,000
Tps = Total number of people involved in swapping 40,000
Td = Total number of people driving to work: 2,000 (50%) of these save time in driving to work ($100pw in petrol).
Tpub = Total number of people using public transport: 2,000 people (50%) use public transport ($52pw in tickets)
Tph = Total number of hours saved that can be used for work
Ths = Tps x Hs x Ww (40,000 x 2 x 5 = 400,000 )
Ww = 5 days commute
Petrol = $100pw
Bus ticket = $52pw
Gaw Gross average hourly pay wage = $15
Hs (Hours saved per swap) = 2 hrs (Average hours commute per day = 2 hrs ( 1 hr each way)
Tc = 29,795 Sydney method of travel (Sydney Travel)
Tr (Total Reduction) = Total number of people no longer using public transport to get to work
Tco2 = Total CO2 reduction by use of car
Cco2 = 170 grams per km (Co2 gas link)
Akm = Average number of kms 50kms per day
Tsd = Tswaps x Tdp Total swaps related to swappers that drive to work (20,000)
kgs = 1000 (converting grams to Kilograms