I take the 7th avenue line downtown to work every morning. Depending on my arrival time at the station on West 72nd street I have the option of taking the 2/3 express or the local 1. Like every other NYC resident strategist I have calculated the time implications of both options. So, depending on what time I make it to the station my selection for which train to use changes. Now that they have installed those new-fangled digital arrival time displays, its easier for me to make my choice, but the dynamics are still basically the same: Comfort or Speed?
Comfort is what the Local Train offers. As most morning commuters are in a rush, the vast majority of the people at the 72nd express station are there BECAUSE its an express. And as such, the 2/3 trains are more crowded. Packed, actually. Shimmying one’s way into the cars is a strange mixture of contortion and personal space violation. One is forced to basically hug complete strangers and many times even end up with your nose a millimeter away from some unknown persons cheek. It’s a pretty uncomfortable experience. But its fast. Arrival at 42nd street is under 3 minutes – and arrival at my 34th street station is around 6. So, when I want to get ahead of the pack, I choose speed.
When I am running a bit early, I’ll hop on a Local 1 and usually will find an actual seat. I can read my newsfeed apps and chill in between stops and listen to the ambient sounds emanating from some kids earpods. Comfort.
Comfort or Speed? Sometimes we just don’t have an option. What I am seeing today in the mobile market is a bad choice of comfort over speed. RIM is a great example. “We have a lead position on Enterprise, screw the consumer market. That’s not our playground.” Snore. While the competition gets onto the Express train, and makes it to the winner station way ahead. Same goes for corporate brands. There is just not enough urgency – and brands are waiting for the local train – holding back while others pack into the express car. “There are other express trains coming, no worry”.
But in this market, the express train has left the station. Get on board, your running late.