Santo Domingo, Valparaíso.
It is Thursday, February 21, 2019. The LiteRide team is working remotely from Las Brisas, a quiet private golf club condominium complex by the ocean in the Valparaíso Region. The golf courses stretch for miles, the wind is fair and the view unparalleled; it seems like the ideal location for passionate golfers to take up residence in after retirement.
On this particular morning, an overcast morning, it's not exactly quiet. Actually, it's rather rowdy. Las Brisas is packed to capacity with families. It is nearly the end of summer, and by the end of month everyone will be back at home in Santiago, preparing their return to school or work. But for now, everyone's spending their day sunbathing, teeing off into the horizon, playing ball, etc.
There's word going around that electric scooters are coming. Overnight, scooter parking signs had been put up all over the place―at the church, the supermarket and the clubhouse, and by the soccer field and tennis courts―and everyone wants to know what the big fuss is about. The tension is mounting and the anticipation is getting the best of us as we wait. Coming straight from the seaport, at about 10 in the morning the 18 wheeler finally comes into sight turning the corner onto Avenida Las Brisas, approaching speedily. It pulls to a stop right around the entrance of the condo. The LiteRide team gathers round in excitement as one of the members climbs onto the rear and cuts the padlock off the container with a bolt cutter. After a year's work, this is the moment we've all been dreaming of.
We unload as quickly as possible, we stack up the boxes and then we get down to unboxing and assembling. It's tough work, but this doesn't come as a surprise to us.
As we put the scooters together, we realize there's been a big mistake: the scooters won't connect to the network. This is surprising to us, as we'd spent countless hours the past few months working on the configuration of the hardware to ensure a good connection in Las Brisas. But we have no such luck. It soon becomes clear to us we must drive back to the city in order to fix the problem. All the excitement dies away as it dawns on us we might not make it in time to launch before summer ends. We pass on the news, it soon gets carried across the whole community. We receive words of encouragement. It's truly a sad day in Las Brisas.
Fast forward five days and countless hours of hands-on work and blowing off steam: we are back from the city, feeling optimistic. The sky is clear, the sun beating down on us nicely. We might just have figured out what went wrong, and we might just have the fix. It's all at stake as we carry out the final test. It's the last chance we'll get to launch here. There's a lot of uncertainty. But, would you believe it, it works! Our frowns quickly turn upside down before we cry out victory.
Word quickly gets around, and before we know it there's dozens of neighborhood kids coming together on site as we give life to the scooters. They'd all downloaded the app days before, and they really want to hop on. It's time. We give the riders the green light and without looking back, one by one they roll out. We've saved the day and order's been restored.
Perhaps this time around it wasn't meant to be for the scooters to be the summer hit in Las Brisas. But one thing's for certain: the community got a taste of LiteRide and it seemed they couldn't get enough of it by the end of February. Now we patiently wait for Easter. After all, what better way to hunt for Easter eggs than on wheels!