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redesignAnswer – Why I was able to buy a $140 ticket for $91 on Expedia

1 Jul

The key to solving this puzzle was checking the dates and the times.

Airfares, as many people know, have advance purchase requirements. Although these vary based on market, these are generally 21, 14, 7, 3 and 1. The closer you get to the travel date, the higher the fares are. A 21-day advance purchase is usually the cheapest. It gets more expensive at 14 days, more at 7 and so on. (These are general guidelines; airfare pricing is mind-numbingly complicated.)

There are various systems that price tickets. (Known in the industry as GDSs.) These systems are based in different places. Virgin America uses Sabre. Sabre’s systems are in the central time zone. (Even though Virgin America itself is based in San Francisco and the flight was originating in Los Angeles.)

To me, the most logical way to test if you met the advance purchase requirement would be based on airport of departure. But it’s tested based on where the computers processing the ticket are.

My flight date was two weeks from yesterday.

So as soon as the clock struck 12:01 a.m. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I didn’t meet the 14-day advance purchase requirements and Virgin America upped my fare to $140. But because Expedia’s tickets are processed on the West Coast, I still met the 14-day mark. So I got the 14-day advance purchase fare of $91, instead of the 7-day advance purchase fare of $140.

Welcome to redesign mobile

1 Jul

We have built a great team to launch redesign mobile.

We are focused on big ideas that can change the world. We are also huge fans of great design.

In June, we had our first recruiting week.

Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, follow @rakeshlobster@cdm57_2000@saranordmann, @vmarks.

Apple’s lax credit card security

12 Jun

Whenever I shop, I do market research. Last night I was at the Apple Store in Union Square in San Francisco.

An increasingly common thing for retailers to do is ask for ID on credit card purchases. I’ve had this happen at major retailers like Target, Macy’s, Walgreens and Apple. It’s also really common just about everywhere in Vegas.

But according to card association rules, you can’t require ID to complete a transaction. When retailers ask me for ID, I generally say that they can’t require an ID.

There are some circumstances where they shouldn’t complete the transaction. Last night was one of them. I had accidentally grabbed the card that I had ordered for my assistant. It wasn’t signed on the back and my assistant has a very female name. The Apple store clerk clearly looked at the name and went ahead and sold me an iPad Air anyway.

Our recruiting process at reDesign mobile

10 Jun

I’ve received a lot of interest today from people looking to work at reDesign mobile. I’ve been overjoyed at the enthusiasm displayed for our little company.

Our recruiting process is very different from anything you’re likely to have encountered. It requires a fair amount of commitment on the part of both recruits and our team. Potential team members are invited to participate in a week-long process in San Francisco. Generally, people are invited if they successfully complete a challenge that I run on Twitter or social media.

We are in the midst of our first recruiting event now, so it’s too late for at least a few months. I would consider making exceptions for exceptionally talented people. The best way to get consideration is to get introduced by someone I trust.

I don’t believe in resumes, cover letters or traditional interviews. Please don’t send them.

If you’re interested in the experience of our recruits, check out the Instagram accounts of Sara, Sam, Chuck and Victor. I’m a bit behind on my own account, but you can also check out rakeshlobster.

Some great posts on NFC, mobile payments and local

20 Sep

There were some really good posts on NFC, mobile payments and local that I ran across this week.

These are must-reads for many of the folks who follow me on Twitter:

And in case you missed the news: I’m getting out of the writing about Groupon business. It’s been more than a year and it’s time to move on to other things. A note to my friends in the media: I’m still happy to help you with your Groupon stories, I just won’t be writing my own. Let me know if you need analysis or introductions to sources.

Relative scale of mobile products

9 Nov

Earlier tonight I asked about mobile monthly unique users for various products.

Here is a compilation of that data along with some others:

  • Facebook – 350 million – publicly announced
  • Google Maps – hundreds of millions – estimate
  • Angry Birds – 30 million daily uniques - Mashable via Anil Dharni
  • Twitter – tens of millions – estimate
  • Pandora – 20-30 million – based on 37 million total in SEC filings
  • TripAdvisor – 10 million – tweet from TA employee
  • Yelp – 5 million – from Yelp PR
  • Where – 4 million – announced at time of eBay acquisition
  • foursquare – 400,000 – tweet from Rabois
Others likely above 5 million:
  • ESPN
  • Instagram
Others smaller:
  • Discover (1MM app installs reported)

Roundup of my Groupon and daily deals coverage

20 Jun

If you have experiences — good or bad — that you’d like to share, email

Start here

For businesses

For potential investors

For consumers

My stories on TechCrunch

My series on local search

Welcome to reDesign mobile

4 Jun

I’ve been working in wireless application design for more than 10 years and it’s really exciting to see wireless data take off. Mobile applications and widespread connectivity are bringing oceans of information to our fingertips. In the last year I’ve been more informed, eaten better, taken public transit more and been more adventurous than ever before. I’ve also been less bored and less lost.

The explosion in the availability of data and the creation of data is going to be transformative, perhaps more than the wired Internet. Realtime information from our friends, neighbors and sensors will allow us to be more efficient and avoid a lot of everyday annoyances.

There are challenges:

  • Network quality — Wireless networks in the U.S. aren’t nearly as fast or reliable as networks in the rest of the developed world. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. I love it works and hate it when I can’t use it because of network issues.
  • Filtering and alerting — With all of the content that is being created through mobile devices (tweets, photos, videos, etc.) sorting through it all to find what’s important is becoming a big problem and the tools that we have today are crude at best.
  • Platform overload — There are too many mobile platforms today. Developers have to choose among iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian. And that’s just the smartphones. It’s just not cost effective to develop for everything.

This blog will look at interesting (good and bad) applications of mobile technology and the good and bad of mobile user interfaces. If you have an application you’d like me to take a look at, please drop me a line.

My personal blog will continue to be an eclectic mix of pieces on social networking, search and media.


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