Ideas, Episode II: Bike shops, tool libraries, and percent change

This is the second installment of my ideas series.

  • Why aren’t there more 24-hour bike shops? I was walking by one shop recently and ran into my friend dropping her bike off after work, and then when I came by on the way home, it was closed. Wouldn’t people love a bike shop where they could drop their bike off after work and pick it up before work the next morning? Wouldn’t the shop get a lot of business if they were open, or at least working, through the night? I understand that it’s no fun working at night, but there are a lot of people out of work these days who would take what they could get. Are there more 24-hour bike shops than I’m aware of?
  • Why aren’t there more tool libraries? Toy libraries? Book libraries work so well, as does ZipCar (which resembles a car library). The idea of product service systems has been discussed for a while, but why haven’t we heard more about it? Why has this idea not completely taken off? I should start a community-based product service system. So should you. Let’s do it.
  • A big problem for public knowledge of government expenditures is the fact that “million”, “billion”, and “trillion” are all really big numbers, and besides that it’s hard to distinguish them. One way that stumbling block could be removed is if instead of reporting primarily dollar figures, news, governmental, and nonprofit organizations focused on the percent change over the previous year, as well as over the average of the last five, ten, or more years. This idea came to mind when I was hearing about the federal budget; change over previous years is much more relevant in budget news than is hard numbers. Maybe this focus on percent change rather than isolated dollar amounts is already standard practice, but I’m not aware of it. If that’s not how things are usually presented, it should be.

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