It's a Thing: Rugby, Bird, and Biocom
What we're talking about in the office this week
First things first: Rugby. Major league rugby, that is. And San Diego is getting its own team, called San Diego Legion. I went to a media event at Trust on Wednesday to meet the GM, owners, coaches, and players. This is big. In the absence of an NFL team, perhaps there’s room in San Diego for rugby to gain a significant following. My husband is from South Africa so he’s naturally a huge rugby fan. Not your thing? He says that in SA there are more women at the games than men because of all the eye candy—rugby players are so ripped. I saw that firsthand on Wednesday. Up close and personal. A lot of these “oaks” were international or had played internationally, which was also cool (so many accents!). The first home game is vs. the Utah Warriors at USD's Torero Stadium, April 29. Look for the Legion guys in an upcoming issue!
Next! Biocom. It’s a conference for biotech entrepreneurs and investors. It took place this week at The Lodge at Torrey Pines; I dropped by to listen to a panel. The panel had just one San Diegan on it—BioBrit’s Dan Bradbury. The rest were praising San Diego and I got the feels. “The level of talent in San Diego is enormous,” gushed Jerel Banks, the CIO at NantVentures. “And the inertia of it—of the level of activity and talent and ideas and funding and history of knowledge. I don’t know how you overcome that good inertia in LA.” Angeleno and fellow panelist D.A. Wallach took it as a challenge and said, “I’m going to make LA hot.” (Go ahead and try!) There was talk of AI-driven drug discovery and development, and then other acronyms with more than two letters, and I was lost. On to the next thing.
San Diego Health. This week at our office, we had a “Sip and See” to reveal the very first issue of San Diego Health. In attendance was Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder plus a whole slew of people from Scripps Health and the Scripps Foundation. We are custom publishing their magazine and were celebrating the birth of their very first issue, with Trevor Hoffman on the cover. Scripps Health is def having a moment. Right now they are also the only San Diego company on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For (March 2018 issue). Our party had live music, booze, and cheese. Now, I am proud to say, San Diego Health is, quite literally, a thing.
Finally: Bird and LimeBike. So much hype! Definitely a thing. These are dockless scooter/bike-sharing programs where an app on your phone can direct you to the nearest parked motorized scooter, single speed- or electric assist-bike. You “unlock it” and ride off, essentially. Late to dinner? Hop on a Bird! Don’t want to spend 10 minutes looking for parking? Ditch your car and take a Lime ($1 for 30 minutes).
Imperial Beach was the first community to get LimeBike. IB launched last September, for tourists. But according to IB City Councilman Mark West, it was the residents who really took advantage of the program. High schoolers ride them to campus and commuters who don't have cars take them to the bus. 75-85% of the bikes end up within 150 yards of an MTS stop. “It is a city planner’s dream," West said at a Bike Coalition press conference this morning. "Dockless bikesharing is the way to go for communities that are less affluent and for those that want to get kids from their homes to their schools.”
LimeBike's San Diego manager says the program is in 45 US markets right now. They launched in National City and, just 10 days ago, in the City of San Diego, where there have already been 30,000 trips. More fun stats: In IB, they have already saved 415 trees, 7,000 lbs. of CO2, and 8,700 vehicle miles in four months.
The sharing programs are also super hot in places like the Gaslamp, Pacific Beach, and Little Italy. I love that, if you were to live in PB and use your own bike—let’s face it, the bike would get stolen eventually. But borrow a Lime and you’re fine. Bird, which launched at the end of January, sends you a helmet for free. Our art director has one. She says "Bird" is even already a verb—e.g. "Let's go Bird around the bay." A bunch of people riding make up a "flock." No joke. It's a thing.