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Onward raises $1.5 million to offer round-trip rides to older adults needing assistance

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Uber and Lyft aren’t designed to transport people who need a little help getting out of the house or need someone to help get them from the doctor’s waiting room back to their home. While Uber, for example, has launched Uber Health to help patients get to their appointments, the drivers are not vetted with patient assistance in mind. This is where Onward comes in.

Onward, with $1.5 million in seed funding from Royal Street Ventures, Matchstick Ventures and JPK Capital, launched a few months ago in the San Francisco Bay Area to help seniors safely get from point A to point B. Unlike Uber and Lyft, Onward offers roundtrip, door-to-door rides and aims to provide freedom for older adults who may feel isolated, Onward co-founder Mike Lewis told TechCrunch.

The idea for Onward emerged from Lewis’ experience with his mother-in-law who had Alzheimer’s. It got him and his co-founder, Nader Akhnoukh, thinking about the idea of aging in place and how older people may feel isolated as they become unable to do the tasks they’ve spent their whole lives doing, like driving.

“The minute you can’t do that, it’s sad and scary,” Lewis said.

Onward has three types of customers: older adults who are no longer able to drive, someone who can’t drive for medical reasons (surgeries, eye exams, etc.) and caregivers who are unable to provide transportation to their loved ones.

Similar to Uber and Lyft, Onward drivers are 1099 contractors but a key difference is that they are paid hourly — at least $20 per hour. Currently, there are more than 25 drivers on board who are all trained in CPR, dementia, and have gone through a background check and car inspection.

Onward also ensures its drivers know how to fold wheelchairs, though, only some drivers have the ability to transport those in powered wheelchairs. This time next year, Onward expects to have hundreds of drivers. Lewis says he also expects the number of vehicles with the ability to transport people in powered wheelchairs to increase as the company grows.

For riders, they can expect to pay $35 per hour. The minimum charge for the trip is one hour, so this is definitely geared toward people who may need the driver to wait for them during a doctor’s appointment, for example. After the first hour, Onward charges by the minute.

That hourly fee gets riders round-trip rides with the driver waiting for you at the destination, door-to-door assistance at each stop and the ability to request favorite drivers.

Onward completed its first ride in March in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For the rest of the year, Onward plans to focus on San Francisco for the rest as well as one other launch market. To date, Onward has completed more than 500 trips.

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mplewis
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I'm a Silicon Valley liberal, and I traveled across the country to interview 100 Trump supporters — here's what I learned

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Sam Altman

Sam Altman runs a prestigious Silicon Valley startup incubator, Y Combinator. He did not vote for Donald Trump. But he wanted to learn about how the rest of America thinks and feels. So he spent months traveling the country, interviewing Trump supporters. He published his findings on his personal blog and has allowed Business Insider to publish them here as well.

After the election, I decided to talk to 100 Trump voters from around the country. I went to the middle of the country, the middle of the state, and talked to many online.

This was a surprisingly interesting and helpful experience — I highly recommend it. With three exceptions, I found something to like about everyone I talked to (though I strongly disagreed with many of the things they said). Although it shouldn't have surprised me given the voting data, I was definitely surprised by the diversity of the people I spoke to — I did not expect to talk to so many Muslims, Mexicans, Black people, and women in the course of this project.

Almost everyone I asked was willing to talk to me, but almost none of them wanted me to use their names — even people from very red states were worried about getting "targeted by those people in Silicon Valley if they knew I voted for him." One person in Silicon Valley even asked me to sign a confidentiality agreement before she would talk to me, as she worried she'd lose her job if people at her company knew she was a strong Trump supporter.

I wanted to understand what Trump voters liked and didn't like about the president, what they were nervous about, what they thought about the left's response so far, and most importantly, what would convince them not to vote for him in the future.

Obviously, this is not a poll and not "data." But I think narratives are really important.

Here's what I heard.

The TL;DR quote is this:

"You all can defeat Trump next time, but not if you keep mocking us, refusing to listen to us, and cutting us out. It's Republicans, not Democrats, who will take Trump down."

trump supporters

What do you like about Trump?

"He is not politically correct." Note: This sentiment came up a lot, probably in at least a third of the conversations I had.

"He says true but unpopular things. If you can't talk about problems, you can't fix them."

"I'm a Jewish libertarian who's [sic] grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Over the last few years, the mainstream left has resorted to name-calling and character assassination, instead of debate, any time their positions are questioned. This atmosphere became extremely oppressive and threatening to people, like myself, who disagreed with many of Obama's policies over the past several years. Intelligent debate has become rare."

"It's a lot like political discussion was in Soviet Union, actually. I think the inability to acknowledge obvious truths, and the ever-increasing scope of these restrictions, makes it particularly frustrating. And personally, for whatever reason, I find inability to have more subtle discussion very frustrating — things are not white or black, but you can't talk about grays since the politically correct answer is white."

Donald Trump"He is anti-abortion." Note: This sentiment came up a lot. A number of people I spoke to said they didn't care about anything else he did and would always vote for whichever candidate was more anti-abortion.

"I like that he puts the interests of Americans first. American policy needs to be made from a position of how Americans benefit from it, as that is the role of government."

"He is anti-immigration." Note: This sentiment came up a lot. The most surprising takeaway for me how little it seemed to be driven by economic concerns, and how much it was driven by fears about "losing our culture," "safety," "community," and a general Us-vs.-Them mentality.

"He will preserve our culture. Preservation of culture is considered good in most cases. What's wrong with preserving the good parts of American culture?"

"He's not Hillary Clinton."

"I'm Mexican. I support the wall. The people who have stayed have destroyed Mexico, and now they want to get out and cause damage here. We need to protect our borders, but now any policy is like that is called racist. Trump was the first person willing to say that out loud."

"I am socially very liberal. I am fiscally very conservative. I don't feel I have a party — never have. I grew up in a more socially conservative time and picked the "lesser of two evils" during elections. Now, the more socially liberal side supports bigger governments, more aid and support, and that money has to come from somewhere. I see what's deducted from my check each week. I'm OK with never being rich, but I'd like more security, and that doesn't come from more government spending."

"We need borders at every level of our society."

"I'm willing to postpone some further social justice progress, which doesn't really result in loss of life, in favor of less foreign policy involvement, the opposite of which does."

"Brown people are always the out-crowd. I think subconsciously, part of the reason I supported him was a way to be in the in-crowd for once."

trump rally fayetteville

What don't you like about him?

"The way he talks about women is despicable."

"Everything about his style. We only voted for him because this election was too important to worry about style."

"I don't like most things about him. The way it worked is we got to choose one of two terrible options."

"I think our nation needs Trumpism to survive long-term, and to me, that supersedes almost every other reservation I have. My issue is with Trump himself — I think he's the wrong vessel for his movement, but he's all we've got, so I'm behind him."

"I think the rollout of the immigration executive order is emblematic of a clusterf---, to be completely frank."

"I now believe the Muslim ban actually makes us less safe."

"Isolationism and protectionism at this point is insane. We've done that before."

"I, too, worry about the dishonesty. His relationship with Russia, his relationship with women. His relationship with questionable financial matters. These all worry me, and were they to continue, I would lose all respect."

"He continually plays into a character that he has created to rile his fan base. Accepting anti-Semitism, white nationalism, or hate emanating unnecessarily creates a vacuum of fear on social media, on television, and around the dinner table. Even though the policies may be similar to that of any recent Republican president, the behavior to act so immaturely sets a bad example for children and undercuts many cultural norms, which more than anything causes disruption to our sociological foundations."

"I hate that he discredits the press all the time. That seems to forebode great evil."

Trump supporters celebrate

What are you nervous about with Trump as president?

"The thing I'm most worried about is war and that he could destroy the whole world. I think I may have underestimated that risk because he is more of an alpha strongman that I realized when I voted for him. Otherwise, I still like him." Note: Most people weren't that worried about war. More frequent comments were along these lines:

"I know he's taking strong positions on certain foreign issues, but I feel in negotiations you need to do things to move the needle, and when a whole country is watching, it's hard to keep a poker face, but at least his business track record overall gives us reason to believe ultimately stability will prevail."

And:

"He's crazy, but it's a tactic to get other nations not to mess with us."

"I worry he will drive us apart as a nation. I believed him when he said that would stop with the campaign, but I haven't seen signs of it so far."

"I am nervous that his mental health is actually bad."

"I worry he is actually going to roll back social change we've fought so hard for. But I hope not."

What do you think about the left's response so far?

"You need to give us an opportunity to admit we may have been wrong without saying we're bad people. I am already thinking I made a mistake, but I feel ostracized from my community."

"The left is more intolerant than the right." Note: This concept came up a lot, with real animosity in otherwise pleasant conversations.

"Stop calling us racists. Stop calling us idiots. We aren't. Listen to us when we try to tell you why we aren't. Oh, and stop making fun of us."

"I'd love to see one-tenth of the outrage about the state of our lives out here that you have for Muslims from another country. You have no idea what our lives are like."

"I'm so tired of hearing about white privilege. I'm white but way less privileged than a black person from your world. I have no hope my life will ever get any better."

"I am tired of feeling silenced and demonized. We have mostly the same goals and different opinions about how to get there. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're wrong. But enough with calling all of us the devil for wanting to try Trump. I hate Hillary and think she wants to destroy the country of us, but I don't demonize her supporters."

"I'm angry that they're so outraged now but were never outraged over an existing terrible system."

trump

"The attacks against Trump have taught me something about myself. I have defended him and said things I really didn't believe or support because I was put in a defensive position. Protesters may have pushed many people in this direction, BUT it is ultimately our responsibility and must stop."

"I'd like to also add that the demonization of Trump by calling him and his supporters Nazis, KKK, white supremacists, fascists, etc., works very well in entrenching Trump supporters on his side. These attacks are counter-factual, and, in my opinion, very helpful to Trump."

"So far, his election has driven our nation apart. So far, I see most of the divisiveness coming from the left. Shame on them. I don't see it quite as bad as during Nixon's era, but we are truly headed in that direction. I could not speak with my parents during that time because political division would intrude. This Thanksgiving and holiday season were as close as I've felt to that in 40 years. We are increasingly polarized. It doesn't seem to be strictly generational, though that exists. There is an East Coast-West Coast, rural vs. urban, racial, and gender division forming now. It has the potential to be devastating."

"The amount of violent attacks and economic attacks perpetrated by the left are troublesome. My wife and I recently moved to the Bay Area. I was expecting a place which was a welcoming meritocracy of ideas. Instead, I found a place where everyone constantly watches everyone else for any thoughtcrime."

"Silicon Valley is incredibly unwelcoming to alternative points of view. Your curiosity, if it is sincere, is the very rare exception to the rule."

"There is something hypocritical about the left saying they are uniters, not dividers, they are inclusive, and then excluding half the population with comments on intelligence and irrelevance in the modern world."

Donald Trump rally

What would convince you not to vote for him again?

"War would be unforgivable."

"If the Russia thing were true, I'd turn against him. Why don't y'all focus on that instead of his tweets?"

"Give us a better option, and we'll be happy. But it needs to be a moderate — Sanders won't win."

"I'll happily vote for someone else. There's a lot I hate about Trump. But our lives are basically destroyed, and he was the first person to talk about fixing that."

"Generally hard to say. Extreme corruption would do it."

Second person in the same conversation: "I don't care if he's corrupt. Y'all voted for Hillary, and she was the most corrupt candidate of all time."

"Another worry is an escalation of overreaches between him and the left that culminates in the breakdown of our system of law. I'd hold him responsible for that."

"If he were to get the US involved in a major military conflict. (I think the odds of this have actually decreased versus Hillary, but I'm willing to be proven wrong). If he were to substantially increase the cost of doing business (by increasing regulation or taxes, for instance)."

"I'm socially very liberal. If he were to do something like restart a war on drugs, try to restrict rights of LGBT, or make first-trimester abortions difficult or dangerous, I'd rethink my position. I think these type of things are extremely unlikely, though, especially with an election a few years away, the country as a whole becoming more socially liberal."

"I think if 2008 happened again (further into Trump's tenure, so that causation can be shown, hypothetically), the base would evaporate."

"Based on Trump's history before politics I don't believe he is racist, sexist, homophobic, or bigoted. If that were true, it would supersede everything else, since it would be even worse for individual liberty and freedom than any freedom-of-speech restrictions or increases in government size proposed by the Democratic Party."

Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's largest startup accelerator. This post originally appeared on his blog.

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NOW WATCH: 'Hollywood is known for being far to the left': Sean Spicer talks about Trump's plans during the Oscars

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Great Job, Internet!: Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” video recreated using clips from The Americans

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The Beastie Boys’ Spike Jonze-directed video for “Sabotage” is an absolute classic, a shit-kicking ’70s pastiche that catches the Beasties’ mid-career embrace of rock at its sledgehammer best. Part of the fun of the video was the depth of its cop-drama fiction—you could picture the whole damn season of Sabotage playing out, one hardass interrogation scene at a time.

You do not have to imagine that full TV show playing out anymore, as the four seasons of The Americans have been re-edited into their own version of the video. The fit is shockingly clean, with the show’s quiet intensity remade into a balls-to-the-wall romp full of funny disguises and high-stakes espionage, repurposing many of the same cheeky edits and scenes from the original video.

Compare to the Beasties’ version below.

[via Kottke]

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mplewis
1105 days ago
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Cool
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Newswire: Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression ends up in newspaper in place of the actual Trump

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In an accidental compliment to Saturday Night Live’s makeup department—and Alec Baldwin’s angry, thick-lipped performance—a Dominican newspaper has been forced to apologize after running a picture of Baldwin in place of President Donald Trump. Per Variety, the Dominican Republic’s El Nacional issued an apology today after running a story that paired Baldwin’s impression of Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (The photo is captioned “Donald Trump, president of the United States.”)

The paper was using a source from the ...

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mplewis
1109 days ago
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Funny
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What Is Going To Happen In 2017

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Happy New Year Everyone. Yesterday we focused on the past, today we are going to focus on the future, specifically this year we are now in. Here’s what I expect to happen this year:

  • Trump will hit the ground running, cutting corporate and personal taxes, and eliminating the preferential treatment of carried interest capital gains. The stock market has already factored in these tax cuts so it won’t be as big of a boon for investors as might be expected, but the seven and half year bull market run will be extended as a result of this tax cut stimulus before being halted by rising rates and/or some boneheaded move by President Trump which seems inevitable. We just don’t know the timing of it. The loss of capital gains treatment on carried interest won’t hurt professional investors too much because the lower personal tax rates will take the sting out of it. In addition, corporations will use the lower tax rates as an excuse to bring back massive amounts of capital that have been locked up overseas, producing a cash surplus that will result in an M&A boom. This will lead to an even more fuel to the fire that is causing “old line” corporations to acquire startups.
  • The IPO market, led by Snapchat, will be white hot. Look for entrepreneurs and the VCs that back them to have IPO fever in 2017. I expect we will see more tech IPOs in 2017 than we have since 2000.
  • The ad:tech market will go the way of search, social, and mobile as investors and entrepreneurs concede that Google and Facebook have won and everyone else has lost. It will be nearly impossible to raise money for an online advertising business in 2017. However, there will be new players, like Snapchat, and existing ones, like Twitter, that succeed by offering advertisers a fundamentally different offering than Facebook and Google do.
  • The SAAS sector will continue to consolidate, driven by a trifecta of legacy enterprise software companies (like Oracle), successful SAAS companies (like Workday), and private equity firms all going in search of additional lines of business and recurring subscription revenue streams.
  • AI will be the new mobile. Investors will ask management what their “AI strategy” is before investing and will be wary of companies that don’t have one.
  • Tech investors will start to adopt genomics as an additional “information technology” investment category, blurring the distinction between life science and tech investors that has existed in the VC sector for the past thirty years. This will lead to a funding frenzy and many investments will go badly. But there will be big winners to be had in this sector and it will be an important category for VCs for the foreseeable future.
  • Google, Facebook, and to a lesser extent Apple and Amazon will be seen as monopolists by government and individuals in the US (as they have been for years outside the US). Things like the fake news crisis will make clear to everyone how reliant we have become on these tech powerhouses and there will be a backlash. It will be Microsoft redux and the government will seek remedies which will be futile. But as in the Microsoft situation, technology, particularly decentralized applications built on open data platforms (ie blockchain technology), will come to the rescue and reduce our reliance on these monopolies. This scenario will take years to play out, but the seeds have been sown and we will start to see this scenario play out in 2017.
  • Cyberwarfare will be front and center in our lives in the same way that nuclear warfare was during the cold war. Crypto will be the equivalent of bomb shelters and we will all be learning about private keys, how to use them, and how to manage them. A company will make crypto mainstream via an easy to use interface and it will become the next big thing.

These are my big predictions for 2017. If my prior track record is any indication, I will be wrong about more of this than I am right. The beauty of the VC business is you don’t have to be right that often, as long as you are right about something big. Which leads to going out on a limb and taking risks. And I think that strategy will pay dividends in 2017. Here’s to a new year and new challenges to overcome.

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mplewis
1150 days ago
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Good list
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Newswire: A cut SNL sketch sees Dave Chappelle stretch his wings

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Not everything makes it on to Saturday Night Live, especially after the notoriously brutal dress rehearsal that weeds out unsuccessful material early on Saturday night. That winnowing happens even on evenings when the show is unanimously declared to be on fire, as it was on last Saturday’s triumphant outing, hosted by Dave Chappelle. People desperate for cut Chappelle content are in luck, though, because NBC has posted a video that didn’t make it past dress online, allowing everybody to bask in the sheer oddball weirdness of “A Motel Painting,” featuring an appearance by Dave Chappelle: arrogant swan.

Those four words are pretty much the entire sketch: some writer clearly imagined the passive-aggressive conversations happening behind the scenes of a boring wildlife painting in an empty motel room, and just sort of ran with it. It’s pretty easy to see why the video got cut—it’s weird ...

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