Mobile Ticketing

The Gotham Gal and I walked into the Musee de l’Orangerie yesterday and found a line of about 20 people waiting to purchase tickets to enter. The Gotham Gal whipped out her phone, went to the Orangerie website, and bought two tickets that were sent to her phone. It took her less than a minute to do it and we walked in. As we were leaving we noticed the ticket line had almost doubled. We shook our heads and made our way to our next stop.

The mobile phone we all have in our pocket or purse can do so many things but one of its superpowers is a point of sale terminal. Increasingly there is no reason to wait in line for tickets to anything. You can just get them on your phone.

I really like just in time ticketing with the phone. I have the NYC East River Ferry app on my phone and whenever I want to take a boat to Brooklyn or Queens, or back, I open up the app, provision a ticket or two if I’m round tripping it, and I’m good to go. I am seeing more and more mass transit systems adopt this approach.

And then there is the NYC subway system which has started to roll out new turnstiles which you can tap and pay at:

I remember the days of carrying metal tokens in my pocket. It wasn’t that long ago!

The smartphone is twelve years old at the end of the month. It is remarkable to step back and think about how much it has changed how we live and work.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. Laurent Boncenne

    I hope you goth the dual ticket valid for the Musée d’Orsay as well?skipping the massive line is definitely a benefit! I did the same last year seeing how long we’d have to queue just to get the tickets, bought them and 5min later was in the museum.

    1. fredwilson

      We did not. That was a missed opportunity

    2. awaldstein

      A museum that I truly love visit on each visit and invariably love the building and the ambiance more than the exhibit.

  2. jason wright

    Queuing is a form of civilisation.

    1. fredwilson

      It may be was in a decade

      1. jason wright

        Absinthe and art.

    2. iggyfanlo

      Queueing reminds me of communist regimes… a form of politically induced or controlled resource constraint

      1. jason wright

        Resource constraint? That reminds me of ‘scarcity’.

  3. kenberger

    In China and other parts of Asia, it’s already a jump beyond that. The default is buying most things on your phone, vertically integrated into the same app, usually.And beyond the buying part, go to some restaurants in Shanghai and you choose your meal dishes with that same app. Not long before robots fill in the rest.

  4. awaldstein

    Yup.Fascinating how uneven the rollout of tech is.We salute that finally we don’t need a token or a card to enter the subway when it was what less than a decade ago that we both sung the praises of even having digital readouts to know when a train was coming.(dug up this post on above where you, Aaron Klein and I were discussing the phone and subways in the comments. Kinda cool… )That some of the projects I’m working on with NFTs and the environment are so transformative, and on my health portal I still can’t send a note to two doctors at once.Gotta wonder where the friction and motivation for how these cracks in advancement move up towards normal.

  5. Vendita Auto

    Claude Shannon would IMO agree with you …

  6. Ruhinda Ruganda

    ..Or is it the replacement cost(s) of legacy systems that impedes innovation? Think mobile pay in Africa..

  7. pointsnfigures

    lost my credit card somewhere. used my phone whenever I could. lots of places are taking it now.

  8. Richard

    Well 5 years later we can all agree that the Apple call was a bit pessimistic. It took you quite some time to come around and see that Apple was and is the most relevant brand in western world.

  9. anthonybissell

    Many times, those lines are day-of tickets that are designed for those who can’t pay full price and can only be purchased from the box office. While I love the technology discussion, as a college student, I wasn’t standing in line when there were other options. It was because I was poor and it was the only way I could afford to go to the theater.

  10. Michael Elling

    The iPhone’s most radical feature was its layer 2 agnosticity. Steve Jobs single-handedly resurrected equal access and cut the vertically integrated cellular stack in half. It took a few years before the concept of OTT (over the top) became common vernacular. Few appreciate this aspect and it received no mention in Isaacson’s book.

    1. JLM

      .+10 — “agnosticity”Well played, wordsmithing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. jason wright

        How’s life in Helium City?

  11. JaredMermey

    All of this is amazing yet already feels obsolete. I believe you wrote about something similar with the airlines and getting onto your plane.

  12. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, okay, a smartphone is in particular a phone. Soooo, teenage girls who LOVE to gossip (force of nature) can glue the phones to one side of their head and gossip away during all waking hours, eating, walking, driving, etc. And THAT’S going to be a big business??????Okay, okay, a smartphone has a Web browser. But it also has an itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny screen. As I type this, the screen on the HP laptop in front of me is 15″ wide, and just for common Web browsing I wish it were bigger, and the screen on my first server behind me is wider and could be wider still, but I’m supposed to lust after some screen the size of an index card? As laptop and desktop screens have gotten larger and larger, screens the size of an index card are supposed to catch on?Okay, okay, out there walking around, can watch a movie on a smartphone. But likely that phone gets to the Internet over a cell phone connection, and sending data enough for a movie over that connection tends to get expensive. I see it as a great thing that my home Internet connection over coaxial cable can send movies, the data rate so high the data is “too cheap to meter’, but there’s supposed to be a big business charging people big bucks to watch movies over a screen the size of an index card???Okay, okay, a smartphone is a phone, but nearly always when I use a phone I (i) have a paper tablet next to me to take notes on the name of the person I’m talking to, their phone number, the time and date of the call, and the main points and (ii) if I made the call I likely have used the Windows NTFS hierarchical file system, some of my favorite data tools, and files to get my basic information about the subject of the call. Due to (i) and (ii), basically, net, I don’t much want to take, make phone calls while I’m away from my office, meeting, walking, driving.Okay, okay, for communications over phone and the Internet, if it has any importance, nearly always I want to read/enter data in my files on the subject. But my smartphone won’t have that data; even if it did I’d have a serious problem with data synchronization.Moreover, usually important communications involve e-mail: Tough to read much e-mail on a screen the size of an index card. Tough to type on a smartphone: The keyboard I like is on my first server — the key feel is excellent, and the color is WHITE which is MUCH easier to see than the highly overly emotional, snowflake, dramatic black of the USB connected !@#$%^&*()_ keyboard I use with my laptop (I HATE black for computer parts), which is much better than the )(*&^%$#@ keyboard that came with my laptop, which would be MUCH better than the keyboard on a smartphone. Using e-mail on a smartphone? No thanks.I’ve found that any of these computers needs computer system management. In my startup, so far I’ve spent maybe five times as much time, energy, and effort in computer system management than in the work unique to my startup. ALL the work unique to and crucial for my startup has been fast, fun, and easy, nearly as easy as freshman calculus which I taught myself easily with great fun, while the system management has been a years long unanesthetized root canal procedure. E.g., last night I wanted to do an incremental backup of my laptop to an external USB hard disk drive. So, I started the backup, with carefully selected options to Robocopy — the backup should go quickly. The backup kept going, so I on my first server I watched a movie. I checked — yup the backup was still writing to the USB drive. I watched another movie. Still writing to the USB drive. I went to sleep. This morning I found that the backup had written about 500 GB to the USB drive when the actual amount of data should have been less than 20 GB. The 500 GB filled the USB drive. Soooooo, Robocopy, the directory with APPDATA, and the NTFS file system (and finding good documentation on those is impossible or nearly so) combined to generate some recursively, nearly infinitely long file names and, net, filled the disk drive and never really did the backup. So, just a simple, routine, old, standard computer system management effort, incremental backup, failed, no good reason, decades after we had incremental backups rock solid, failed. And the recursive file name and APPDATA are new, wildly poorly documented, another hidden land mine in the road, yet another distraction from the real work, in this case on a fully up to date installation of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10 64 bit. So, bummer. Yet another interruption. More mud wrestling. Another tooth lost to an unanesthetized root canal procedure. Soooo, I’m supposed to look forward to a smartphone with more computer system management problems and, thus, more unanesthetized root canal procedures, mud wrestling, unpredictable, exogenous INTERRUPTIONS in my work, a few hours or more suddenly inserted at the top of my TODO list?????? NO WAY.So, from such considerations, NO WAY do I want to make any significant use of any smartphone. From that I would assume that there would be no money selling smartphones. But on the money, that would be wrong. There has been super big bucks selling smartphones.Sooooo, back at the beginning of smartphones, how should one have investigated, rationalized, explained, justified them? Okay, okay: The justification is we don’t know what people will do with them, why they will like them, why they will spend $hundreds on one and two years later $hundreds more on an updated one. pay big bucks in cell phone data usage, etc. We don’t know. But we believe!!! Believe that somehow nearly everyone will fall in love with smartphones. We can’t think of how or why, but we guess they will. Maybe just because it’s a fashion fad, pretty, amazing, a status symbol, good for calling for help in a roadside emergency, and otherwise a total pain from small screen, horrible keyboard, data synchronization problems, efforts to pretend that can do work walking around that really requires the office, more computer system management problems, etc.Okay, okay: Now the justification is that just walking around we can use a smartphone to order tickets, call a taxi, etc. Yes, before we could have used a phone booth to call a taxi, but with smartphones there are nearly no phone booths!And that’s how smartphoes, with Apple, Android, etc. have suddenly become a huge industry, likely much more valuable than all the car companies. Amazing.Well, I’m going to do some traveling so yesterday at Amazon ordered a cell phone, my first, cheapest I could get, that may also be a smartphone. I hope I never use it. As soon as I’m done with this instance of traveling, I hope to junk it and again use only my computers, Internet connection, an old desktop touch tone phone. I do have one update for technology: I run the telephone cable through a FAX modem card and have a little macro for my editor that will dial phone numbers for me.The rationality for my startup is still on rock solid ground, but maybe I should add a dash of fad, status, social, etc.???The fundamental technology is the dynamics of fads, right?

  13. lisa hickey

    When I lived in NYC years ago I remember the contrast of being in the ancient, decrepit, chaotic Penn station and using my phone to get on a train to anywhere. Tickets and transportation options through my phone have made everything easier. The other bonus life changing piece of it is that I haven’t carried cash in years. I’m old enough to remember when an ATM seemed like the biggest breakthrough ever. No more lines at banks! Now it’s “why would anyone use an ATM? So archaic!” Right now my phone is my default method for solving problems of any kind. I wonder how that will change next…how else will we solve problems? Stay tuned!

    1. lisa hickey

      I also haven’t owned a car in 6 years. I mostly bicycle, but also walk, scooter, electric rail—and when absolutely necessary use a ride share or rent a car. I try to avoid anything with fossil fuels unless there is no other choice.But when I do use a car—THAT’S where I find the “queues”. Queues on the highway, queues waiting to park. “Waiting in line” has a new meeting when applied to a car. Cars seem archaic and inconvenient to me. Let’s work with urgency towards a world without fossil fuel cars.(If it’s bad form to add to my own comment, apologies, but this seemed important. We need to evolve from cars at a more rapid rate. And I can finally see it.)

    2. sigmaalgebra

      > I wonder how that will change next…how else will we solve problems? Stay tuned!Facts: The content on the Internet is large beyond belief and growing fast beyond belief. The best of it is a major fraction of the best content of all of civilization.So, e.g., if only like an old library card catalog subject index, in cabinets with some just gorgeous carpentry, we need means to find what we want.IMHO the best current means are good for about 1/3rd of the content, searches people want to do, and results they want to find and otherwise nearly always at best poor. So, we need a good means for the other 2/3rds.Essentially the users want some case of meaning of the content. Having software, e.g., from natural language processing, image processing, etc. make progress on meaning is a computer science Holy Grail problem. So, we need some progress there.That’s right, no secret here at AVC, I’ve worked out how to do all that and written the code as a Web site apparently ready for production.Just now I’m moving. And yesterday I tried to use ROBOCOPY with carefully selected options to do an incremental backup of my HP laptop Windows 10 system, and ROBOCOPY got into serious trouble with the directories “Local Settings”, AppData, and “Applications Data”. So, with a total of about 12 hours of work since then, I believe I have programmed a solution. So, right out of the blue, unpredictably, I got put at the top of my TODO list 12 hours of work. Bummer. Nearly all the effort for my project has gone to poor documentation of the tools I have to use and system management mud wrestling, that heavily from poor documentation. The work unique to my project, e.g., to solve the problem of meaning, has been fast, fun, and easy. Now I’m past a lot of such documentation and system management problems and maybe past enough to concentrate on the real work, after the move!!!But while waiting for some software to run as part of testing my fixes, I used Google Maps to tour Paris and look at Musee de l’Orangerie. Okay. That’s about enough of Paris for me!

      1. lisa hickey

        Yes to this! —>> “Essentially the users want some case of meaning of the content.” I will be looking out for you work in this, thanks for sharing!

        1. sigmaalgebra

          All praise welcome!Yes, of course, I intend to announce the alpha test here on AVC.The progress on meaning is based on some original applied math, complete with theorems and proofs, the best kind of applied math, I did, based on some advanced and not very well known advanced pure math prerequisites.Net, the crucial core data manipulations are definitely NOT “computer science” and are essentially beyond Sand Hill Road. They won’t reinvent that math, not a chance, and won’t even know where to look in the library.At least now I DID solve the ROBOCOPY problems and got a good backup. It was a day, one long day plus some. It’s stuff like that where the time has gone.

  14. jason wright

    Not at the game today, USA vs Chile, Parc des Princes?

  15. jason wright

    I’m ambivalent about it. I don’t sense or observe that the quality of life experience people have has been markedly enhanced. I see quantity. I don’t see quality. I quite often yearn for the analogue life. My brain felt more in harmony in that environment than in this brave new digital world we seem to have little choice but to participate in.

  16. Mike

    Yes, pretty amazing. A whole generation that has possibly never read a paper map or planned a route in advance.

  17. Jeremy Shatan

    I did the exact same thing at Mystic Aquarium earlier this year and in general buy in advance and add tickets to my Apple Wallet – so convenient!

  18. johndodds

    Also interesting to note the extent to which it’s not changed the life of all those people standing in line.

  19. Anon

    SMH at a Starbucks right now.