On a recent trip to San Diego, I was amazed with how much my smartphone affects how I experience the world, or in this case a new city. We’ve gotten to a point where smartphones are like a Swiss army knife, jam packed with a ton of extremely useful apps that make exploring a new place insanely easier, and better.
Here’s a rundown of the apps that acted as my concierge, and below I’ll go into a bit more detail of how I use some of them.
- Kayak - to book flights
- Uber - to get around a city
- HotelTonight / Airbnb - find a place to stay
- Spotify / HypeM - soundtrack to your trip!
- Instagram - document and share with friends
- Foursquare - find awesome local spots
- Yelp - local rating guide
- Tinder - find love!
- Songkick - any bands playing locally?
The Kayak app is awesome for finding flights. It’s very easy to use, and you’d be hard pressed to find flights that they don’t have in their system. I ultimately end up purchasing almost all my flights through Kayak, and the app is very simple to use. And, of course, I’m also always rockin’ digital boarding passes. Printing things out is so lame :) .
I know, I know, I’m biased. But sometimes I use Uber and I step back and just say to myself …”Uber is the best”. After landing in San Diego I press a button on my phone, and within ten minutes my driver, Abdi, pulls up with a smile on his face. He was incredibly nice, passionate about Uber/his work, and was the perfect introduction to the city. It was almost midnight, and for only $17 I had a reliable ride to my hotel. You just can’t beat that.
One of my favorite apps is HotelTonight. It rules mobile. The design is incredible, it’s easy to use, and it serves an awesome purpose. Starting at noon every day, HotelTonight posts rooms that are available for that night in a city. You find great deals, a range of pricing options, and book everything through the app. I found a room in the exact neighborhood where I wanted to stay, and thanks to their awesome referral program I got $50 off my room. Speaking of which, use the code MCROWLEY4 to get $25 off your first HotelTonight booking (not an ad!).
Although I didn’t use it on this particular trip, it’s also worth noting Airbnb which is a service that let’s you rent people’s actual homes. It’s very seamless, and I’ve gotten to stay in some awesome homes and apartments all over the country (and continent!) thanks to Airbnb. It’s a really unique way to get awesome accommodations in a city.
As I was booking my hotel and ordering my Uber ride, I was also starving and it was midnight. Through Yelp and Foursquare I was able to look for late night food spots (and the good ones while I was at it). Although there weren’t a ton of options for midnight food in San Diego, both those apps (especially Foursquare) make finding “what the locals like” really easy. Foursquare in particular, especially with it’s list feature and explore tab, helped me find a great Friday night restaurant, and the perfect bar to spend Sunday afternoon. They’re both must haves when walking the streets of a new city.
No trip would be complete without saying hello to a few ladies! With Tinder I posted my Facebook profile in their system (and my location of San Diego), and I was paired up with other locals. If both parties are interested, the app matches you up. Unfortunately I did not find Tinder love, but you can imagine the possibilities!
So what’d I miss? Hit me up on Twitter with any other must have travel apps!
We’ve been doing a lot of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring at Uber, and I continue to grow in frustration with some of the effort that I see from a lot of folks. Your job is your life, at least at Uber it is. You should be putting it all on the line, cause in the end, you have nothing to lose! Here are
- Don’t apply normally. Create a website, create a tumblr, create anything. Show me that you think outside the box - especially when applying for a creative position.
- Go above and beyond. Goes along with #1, but I wanted to re-emphasize. Short of flying a banner off the back of a plane… wait, that’s a great idea :)
- Use the product, understand it thoroughly. It’s amazing how many folks we interview that openly lie about their Uber usage. Go actively use the product of the company you’re applying for a job with. In startups, no matter your role, you will inevitably be an ambassador of the brand. Go try it out before you apply.
- Be an expert on the product. The internet has made research the easiest thing ever. Read every word about the company, it’s history, and think about what the future holds. Why would you even want to work for a company if you haven’t thought about those things? I should never have to send links to our blog, links to press clippings, a candidate should say “I’ve already read all of this, and I loved it”.
- Be all over it. Unless there’s some miracle, no one is going to knock down your door and give you your dream job. Go chase it down, and be relentless. The most successful people at Uber are insane passionate about our product and our brand. Have that, and show that.
At Uber, there is constant motivation.
Our growth: insane. Our team: amazing.
I’ve never been around a more talented, intelligent, creative, and hardworking group of people. Everyone believes in what we’re working on, we feed off of each other.
Of course, it’s not all perfect, it’s a startup and at times I get frustrated. We’re growing SO fast and there’s SO much work to do, that you can easily feel overwhelmed. In actuality though, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Because… there’s no playbook… there’s no real job description. Everything you do, you have to figure out; you have to chase down; you have to grind for. If you have the go-getter mentality and the confidence that you can do anything, talk to anyone, and accomplish anything, then it’s the perfect place to work.
I have fifty-five jobs. I touch so many different items every day. Here are the tasks I juggle on a typical day:
- Social media contests, outreach
- Planning a marketing promotion (and then getting an email from a major sports team that the promotion is illegal and asking that I take it down - all while getting hundreds of sign-ups and buzz)
- Business development work - what other awesome companies can we partner with ?
- Coffee with an event committee of a major charity gala
- Answering hundreds of support tickets from someone who’s ride didn’t go well - with the goal of turning them into an ambassador
- Managing a team of other Community Managers
- Planning our next crazy, awesome, on-demand thing
- Talking to the manager or publicist of a bunch of awesome athletes and celebs and trying to get them to ride with Uber
I have an inbox of opportunities. I get excited to check my email, because every few hours there’s a major win in there.
Our brand is SICK. What we do is exciting because of that. Our brand is so unique that it serves as an intro to talk to so many awesome people. I sit back at least once a week and think to myself, I can’t believe I’m having a conversation with this person today.
The pitch? Push a button and a car appears. It’s like magic. People talk about this. They tell everyone about this.
Our company culture, is the foundation that keeps us stable. At Uber, ideas are celebrated. If you want to go chase down an opportunity, then do it. If you think something should be done differently, then go change it, and prove that the change makes sense.
I love everyone who works here. I’ve spent time with Uber employees from all over the world. When we travel, we get houses (no hotel rooms, and you better be down to share a bed), and the bonding is crazy. We jam on ideas all day, and all night. And everyone works their asses off - it’s what we do.
We’re building out the best company culture on earth… and maybe the best company while we’re at it. We need you and we need your talented friends, so jump aboard the ship and help us grow this thing! I don’t care where you work; I guarantee you’ll have more fun working at Uber, and get way more fulfillment out of it.
To sum it up, my daily spectrum of work is wide. I can create and define my own role, determine what is a valuable opportunity and go after it, and that’s all celebrated at our company. The autonomy of my job is ridiculous. Everyone is their own boss, there’s just one expectation: get your work done.
I wake up excited to work everyday. Ready to feel that way?