Cyber Talk Radio: The Electric Scooter Boom with Blue Duck

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Eric Bell, Blue Duck Scooters CEO - Episode 118 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Sunday, December 30, episode 118 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Eric Bell, Blue Duck Scooters CEO, to discuss the rise of electric scooters in major cities around the U.S. as well as the technical and security challenges of maintaining the scooters.

Blue Duck Scooters is a software, hardware, firmware, and logistics company wrapped up in one. In San Antonio, the scooter scene quickly went from zero to finding them on almost every corner of the city. How do you gain market share in such a crowded and challenging industry? According to Eric, Blue Duck’s philosophy is to “go places where you can win.” He shares a comparison of bike sharing to scooter sharing. For every one person using bike share, there are 20-25 people using scooters. Eric says we are in a “Mobility Movement.” Some of the other major scooter companies around San Antonio are Bird, Lime, and Razor. Actually, Lime was initially Lime Bike and has now completely moved over to scooters. Blue Duck hopes that the increase in the number of bikes and scooters will help encourage cities to implement dedicated bike lanes. To put numbers to it, Eric shared that San Antonio went from 100 to 4,000+ scooters in about four months. Wow! Many cities are becoming crowded with the amount of scooters and even how many different providers there are now. A good example of this is Santa Monica, CA, there are seven or eight different scooter providers in the city alone. That’s too many! As cities like San Antonio work through acclimating to the scooters and abiding by guidelines and safety rules, scooter companies are very much becoming a government relations business. Blue Duck and the other scooter providers need to craft sensible legislation to help regulate the scooters. I believe that scooters are the biggest transportation revolution in downtown San Antonio since horseback riding moved to cars. Recently, Ford bought a scooter business which is a good reminder that they are not just a car business, they are a transportation business.

In the second half of the show, I had Eric tell us about the security of the scooters. What are the physical and cyber security and logistical challenges? Are people trying to hack into the technology to get free rides? At the application level, Blue Duck has not had anyone successfully hack in to get a free ride. The more troublesome issues have been corporate security and protecting the data of the company and employees. Blue Duck has implemented two-factor authentication and encryption for phone calls, texts, and any other form of communication. Eric shared that they had an issue of a competitor hacking into an executive's email to potentially try to steal intellectual property and/or insider information. That's a good reminder to always implement some basic cybersecurity precautions when running a business especially when you are in such a competitive industry like Blue Duck! Regarding physical security, lost rates are relatively high on the scooters from people stealing them. How can the scooter companies protect the theft? There has been chatter in the market about potentially putting cameras in the scooters. Eric is not a fan of that idea!

Blue Duck would like to host a hackathon to see if someone can hack into their platform. Eric promises that whoever successfully hacks into the Blue Duck platform is guaranteed a job the next day. I say we make sure the Blue Duck team gets this hackathon on the calendar! Since Blue Duck is collecting riders credit card information and driver’s license data, they want to make sure there is a certain level of trust with riders. How can Blue Duck set itself apart from all of the other scooters out there? Eric and the Blue Duck team want to innovate and eliminate the app fatigue that people have when needing to quickly rent a scooter to get to lunch or to a work meeting. It's time to redefine the way people go about renting the scooters. Blue Duck has no interest in competing in Santa Monica or any of the crowded cities! Blue Duck is growing and planning to hire 100 more people over the next few months! They want to expand as much as they can in San Antonio and will also have offices in other cities based on demand. Check out the Blue Duck Scooter website for career info!

Fun fact, did you know that the lifespan of a scooter is only last about 21 days? Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about Blue Duck Scooters and the growing scooter boom.

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