Roark Design

How it works

Ridekicks functions:

By using elements of social gaming and reward mechanics to change the way people operate in, around, and with cars.

Through linking to favorite social networks such as: Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, etc…

And educate children, bring mathematical, logical and networking aspects to life for adults and…make ridesharing cool?

To promote environmentally friendliness, socially acceptable car sharing

Begin with:

1.)    Uploading coming journeys and advertise for social buddies on the same route.

For and as passenger.

2.)    Start your own community groups for companies, schools, universities and neighborhood teams.

-Compete with and within the team

Continue by:

3.)    Search for spare seats and promote availability to the driver friends on their social networks.

4.)    Keeping track of miles driven and points shared.

Each mile shared is worth 1 point for both passenger and driver

5.)    Choosing whether to charge passengers for the ride

-Through the site with major currencies using PayPal’s Adaptive payments technology.

-5% of all transaction fees go directly towards Ridekicks

In the future:

6.) Aim for respective titles

-“King of the Road”: Highest scoring participant within the entire network

-“Captain Planet”: Player who travels most as passenger

-“Hometown Hero”: Highest participant from any given city

-Titles can only be kept through continual participation within the system

7.)    (For company reference) Solidify rewards system

– Hopes to partner with fuel companies and local government for reward methods

Reassessments and justification for categories

Green Design:

Ridekicks definitely fits the category of green design, because this website was formed to facilitate carpooling. It turns carpooling into a social game with rewards for environmentally-friendly driving. By connecting the people who can give rides to the people that need them, Ridekicks helps the environment by saving fossil fuels and reducing air pollution from car exhaust.

Social Design:

Co-founders Lee Marshall and Rohit Mistry explain Ridekicks as something that “helps you get to more places, share trips with current friends, and make new friends. We believe that social technology has the power to change the way that we use cars, and we believe it should be fun,” (Crunch Base Profile). By working through user’s personal networks, Ridekicks connects people with the people they already know, and also through the search bar on the website Ridekicks, connects people with others that have a common destination. Through the aspects of connecting people and people sharing resources with other people, this case is definitive of social design.

Communal Design:

Related to social design, Ridekicks can also be categorized as communal design. Cofounder Lee Marshall elaborates how the act of peer-to-peer philanthropy can creates bonds between people and grow into closer, larger local communities: “People spreading wealth among themselves to improve each other’s lives will become a huge part of modern society. As our digital footprints become ever larger and local communities are bought online, I think peer-to-peer lending will take off,” (Marshall). With these concepts in mind, we can see how Marshall and Mistry intended for Ridekicks to be as much about saving money and helping the environment, as building friendships and meeting new people.

Another way Ridekicks is definitive of Communal Design is how the design process of this website is similar to the open source, open innovation method of the $100 dollar lap top. People are welcome to put in their opinions and input about the website and how it works. On the Ridekicks Facebook page, we see the company reaching out to people with survey questions for design research.

Negotiation Analysis

*Intimacy vs. shared space

People who work all day and are with their families (potentially) when they are at home use their time driving to and from work as alone time and as a time to gather their thoughts.  When another person is introduced to this equation, one is forced to forgo this solace for petty discussion with another individual.  Of course, on some occasions they could enjoy their discussions, but assuming that the other individual is a stranger, more than likely conversation will resort back to common small talk.  When someone is in their car alone, it is their space and they can do things like play music loud without worrying about whether or not someone else cares what or how loud they are listening to that music.

Even before the ride itself, the social forum itself negotiates intimacy vs. a shared space.  The network itself is a shared space containing everyone’s information of their locations and schedules.  Exposing yourself online suggests a certain sense of exhibitionism, which then automatically makes you a little more vulnerable just taking into the consideration the vastness and openness of the internet.  Interestingly enough, the network can also act as an intimate setting.  It serves as a conduit for multifaceted conversation.  There is a casual quality in online conversation – it takes away the awkwardness  of what is polite to say and how is appropriate to react.  Because these social constrictions are then eliminated in the absence of eye-to-eye conversation, the subjects are more free to express their thoughts and act more naturally as their real selves.

In this end, this forces us to both re-think and re-contextualize the definition “intimacy” and “shared space” as well as consider the implications of both sides in the carpooling process itself.

Independence vs. dependence on another driver

When people have their own cars, they don’t have to worry about when they want to leave or stay, they can just leave when they want.  When someone is depending on another person both people have to wait till a time when they can leave together.  This may limit one or both people to waiting several minutes till they can leave, which might be viewed as an inconvenience.

Time vs. Money

Along with the previous negotiation, the time saved when not relying on another person is nice, but is the money spent driving a car alone worth that time saving.  Obviously, when you have multiple people sharing a car (and the driver opts to charge) both people save money (than if they were both paying for a separate journey’s worth of gas).

*Entrepreneurship vs. charity

When someone decides to charge for their rides, a certain tone for the ride is set.  For example, if someone decides to ferry people for free, people feel more like the person is doing something nice for them and therefore feel more at ease with the person.  This might result in new friends or other social gains.   When someone charges for the ride, it becomes more formal and the person paying might feel less obliged to talk to the person driving them since they are being paid.

Another interpretation of this includes analyzing the implications of “gaming.”  Any sort of gaming theme suggests a competitive nature-players want to beat their best and each others’ best to be number one.  This is good because it will elicit participation.  However, a major concern is the possibility that drivers will only drive or drive more to score more points.  This at a big scale poses a huge problem in that it then creates a reverse effect – because of competition, people are actually abusing their driving habits more in order to obtain and keep their titles.  It then places the company at a very risky position and poses the question:  where and how discernible is the line between gaming to encourage genuine participation in a good-will effort and gaming for the sake of competition and for personal gain.


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King of the Road. Digital image. Laser Autotags. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <>.

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“ Turns Ride Sharing Into a Social Game – Startup Report (Press Release) | News for Entrepreneurs.” | News for Entrepreneurs. 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <>.

Smith, Paul. “Gaming For Good: Ridekicks | Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.” Triple Pundit – Green Business News. 29 Oct. 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <>.

Life Straw

10, نوفمبر 2010

Do you see how dirty that water is? Would you drink it if I dared you? With Life straw you can! (Or at least, you’d be more willing too…)

Lifestraw is a water filter in a straw. It’s a cheap ($2.00), effective (removes 99.9% contaminants) and is good for about a year’s supply of water (700 liters). Clean water is a basic human need, and Life straw helps millions purify their drinking water, saving them waterborne illness and death by dessication.  With all the technology squeezed into the 12.2 inches of this thing, you could drink mud with no worries.

Check out the video below. You can mix cow dung with your water and still be good.

Testing the Lifestraw: Cow sh!t to clean water video.


Environmental design, Area improvement design, Health related design, Make a difference design, Helpful/useful design


Money making venture vs. social improvement venture, Distribution/Use of LifeStraw vs. local methods of water purification, man vs nature, man vs man-polluted nature

-Roark Design (Assignment 0.3)