Why Itís Fair to Save a Parking Spot...For a Price

Here in downtown Boston, parking at a private garage runs $12 for the first hour or I can park at a mater for $1.25 an hour. It shouldn’t be a surprises that as a result of this below-market pricing, cars are circling (and circling) in hopes of landing a prime rock-bottom priced parking space? A controversial new app – Haystack – is trying to arbitrage off of this poor pricing. For a $3 fee, parking seekers are directed to about to be vacant meter spots. As a result, public officials are grappling whether to somehow ban these types of apps and drivers are wondering if it is ethical to “save” a parking space for others.

Please check out my latest piece for the Harvard Business Review which argues that the root of the problem is underpriced downtown meter rates. City officials should stop worrying about parking apps and instead focus on getting the price right for public parking spaces. 

Posted on July 28th, 2014 (0 Comments)

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Regulation is Hurting Cabs and Helping Uber

Uber is overtaking the world! In just four years, the private car sharing service has grown from its debut in San Francisco to now serving 143 cities in 40 countries. Investors, of course, are taking note. A recent private investment effectively valued Uber at $18.2 billion – only Facebook raised money from investors at a higher valuation!

As much as I am enamored with Uber’s service – it’s playing in an uneven playing field. Local governments regulate the prices of Uber’s chief rivals, taxi cabs. As a result, taxi cabs are sitting ducks to Uber’s opportunistic pricing. Please check out my latest piece for the Harvard Business Review which discusses this unfair competitive environment.

The Amazon/Hachette battle is totally centered on price – please check out my recent appearance on Bloomberg West where I discuss this issue.

Posted on July 10th, 2014 (0 Comments)

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Adding Fees that Customers Wonít Hate

In many industries, it’s customary to add surcharges and what I am saying is that it may behoove companies to add surcharges if it highlights their brand. Ticket reseller, StubHub, for instance, offers a very strong ticket authenticity guarantee. If something is wrong with your purchased ticket, one call to StubHub and they’ll do everything possible to get you into the event. That’s value. If I were StubHub, I’d add an “insurance” fee that highlights this value as well as generates higher profits.


While some may argue this is nickel and diming customers, I actually think the way that you structure these add-on prices can bolster your brand! In fact, even if your industry does not customarily add surcharge.


Please check out my latest piece for the Harvard Business Review which discusses additional fees and how they can strategically enhance your company’s brand (as well as reap higher profits).

Posted on June 12th, 2014 (0 Comments)

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