As the agency Editorial Director for HERE, I spent nearly three years leading a team of copywriters and art directors in ideating, pitching, researching, and producing short and long-form articles that made location tech accessible and digestible to the HERE audience.  Every month, we delivered 20+ stories along with supporting social content for both organic and paid placement.
To make ourselves distinct in a sea of sameness, every story was written with a specific audience in mind. Every story educated and entertained the reader. Every story promoted HERE as a thought leader, regardless of whether they had a product to sell. Grounded in this approach, we increased monthly views from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands.
Below are samples of my writing in multiple formats, but you'll find a full list of every article I ever pitched, wrote, edited, or produced HERE.
It's time we talked about the e-scooters.
It's Time We Talked About These E-Scooters.
Bradley Walker
Will electric scooters be the downfall of our cities? Or can we all come together to make micromobility work?
On a recent working trip to Berlin, I made arrangements to stay an extra day to take in the city sights and culture. Ahead of that day, I had a rough idea of the points of interest I wanted to see, but I hadn’t researched how I would get from place to place. This being my first visit, I made no firm decisions on whether I would walk, hop buses, hail cabs, or take the subway.
As a frequent come-what-may traveler, I figured the best plan would present itself when I got there—and I wasn’t wrong. After a few days of working, the most convenient means of moving quickly and cheaply around the downtown area presented itself front and center:
The dockless shared electric scooter
Electric scooters are a polarizing subject. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about these two-wheeled conveyances. Some have learned to love them; others quite vocally detest them. I admit that I completely understand both. That said, I cannot add to any single-sided argument because—and I believe this firmly—no single side can solve the mobility problem on their own. To that end, let’s have a think about the parties involved.
The cosmos of (wreckless) e-scooter providers
They say it’s sometimes easier to get forgiveness than permission, and they’re right. Uber, the eponymous mobility service, used that rationale to become the most instantly recognizable ride-hailing company on the road. By rapidly setting up operations in cities and making themselves highly accessible (if not indispensable), they were able to leverage consumer advocacy to combat regulatory pushback
The e-scooter companies: Bird, Lime, TIER, VOI, Wind, Circ, UFO, Ofo, Eskay, Movo, Bolt, Spin, Sherpa, HOPR, Ridecell, Razor, VeoRide, ¡Muévete!, Gruv, Lyft, JUMP, and Wheels to name a few*; employed a similar strategy as Uber, showing up in cities unannounced, pushing campaigns for rapid adoption, and notifying local officials after the fact, sometimes via social media.
*Ok, I made up “Muévete.”
These Blitzscaling strategies aroused suspicion that the companies cared more about getting their e-scooters on the streets than the impact of their presence on communities. Now, with a heap of competitors, those companies are fighting hard to get scooters legalized so that they can distribute as many as possible. But cities are rightfully stopping short of giving them the green light.
City legislators in charge of urban mobility
Cities weren’t ready with needed regulatory standards for a deluge of shared micromobility services. Many city governments were taken entirely off guard when companies began dropping scooters on the streets, and those governments needed to respond quickly. Let’s not forget; these things are dangerous.
It’s a functional necessity that legislators step in and make decisions to ensure third-party mobility solutions are safe for citizens to use. They have to limit deployment so that city sidewalks and streets don’t become a battleground over which company can make more scooters available to the public. And most importantly, planners have to make sure these innovative solutions improve urban mobility for everyone, rather than a few. 
City responses have varied. After getting blitzed, San Francisco famously kicked most of the companies out for failing to meet standards in safety, equitable access, sustainability, and several other factors. Meanwhile, New York was ahead of the game by declaring that e-scooters are illegal, full stop. 
Residents and riders 
While mobility companies require riders to accept extensive terms and conditions, these contracts are mainly in place to protect their businesses from our ineptitude. Local traffic laws cover what’s legal and what isn’t. In between, the scooter rider is left to their own unpredictable designs. 
Murkiness in regard to who is responsible for what results in riders skirting laws. They can decide it’s excusable to ride vehicles on sidewalks or in bus lanes. They can zip in and out of congestion, or ride at dangerous speeds in crowded situations. They can park their scooters in bike lanes, or the middle of busy sidewalks. In short, they can make a real nuisance of themselves. 
Then there are the average citizens who hold the companies, the city legislators, and the riders all equally accountable for littering their already congested streets with more junk. In response, they often do what one does with a dockless rental device: they relocate them. E-Scooters have been found in trash cans, hung in trees, and dumped in waterways so often that some companies have ongoing systems in place for retrieving wayward scooters. 
The time and efficiency benefit
Ok, yes, I agree, there are a lot of reasons to dislike scooters from multiple angles. However, before we kill them off entirely in a fit of denial, we should look at some of the real positives. 
To start: they’re enjoyable! Riding through the streets of Berlin with a top speed of 18khm, I felt neither like a slowpoke nor a speed menace. Of note (my fellow New Yorkers), car traffic stayed clear of the bike lane, pedestrian traffic stayed clear of the streets, and I kept off the sidewalks. It was, I dare say, harmonious
But beyond the perks of enjoyable transit, there is an indisputable mobility benefit. If e-scooters (or shared bikes) had not been available, I would have had to take a bus or a cab to the closest subway station, wait for the Untergrundbahn, ride five stops, then walk a few blocks to get to the first place I wanted to go. In the broader framework of my day, taking a scooter easily cut two hours of transit, creating more time for enjoying the sights. 
This newly-gained time and efficiency can benefit an entire city. Instead of all residents crowding into the same few modes of transport, they can use micro-mobility services to connect between spread-out places, like taking a scooter to a slightly farther train line that, in turn, conveys you directly to where you’re going. In this example, commuters spread out over more trains, get to their destinations more directly, and spend less time in the transit system overall. 
So what’s the answer?
To make this work, we have to get collaborative.
Shared scooter companies, for one, need to self-regulate in the arena of responsibility for badly behaved riders and poorly parked scooters—not a small undertaking. By comparison, most shared bike systems have docking stations that strictly dictate where bikes can be checked back in. There is no widely accepted etiquette for parking a shared vehicle that can literally be parked anywhere, and common sense doesn’t seem to have a deep enough impact. 
Likewise, cities can take more strides to designate what’s legal and what’s illegal, then enforce those laws to lower abuse. One solution for cities could be to identify the highest traffic areas, reclaim vehicle parking zones, and replace them with dockless mobility parking zones. With that approach, pedestrian-filled sidewalks stay clearer, and riders get better indications of the best places to park. 
Gaining a balance requires a highly detailed understanding of how and why people move. Bringing together the data from vehicles, traffic sensors, and mobile devices all contribute to a living, breathing view of a city’s ecosystem of movement. That view is necessary for rendering better decisions, happier residents, and efficient transit. 
The state of transit in cities is transforming rapidly, and the best way forward is the path that benefits everyone involved. As we empower mobility solutions on our streets, we’ll see cars, bikes, and pedestrians work in increased harmony. While we get there, if you get the chance, I recommend giving a scooter a spin for yourself.
3 ways location-based advertising will change your life
Bradley Walker
Whether you call it Location Based Advertising (LBA), Geomarketing, or any other yet-to-be-developed buzzworthy term, highly personalized geospatial advertising is the future, now.
Location based advertising is nothing new. The billboards we see every day evolved from local business owners putting up signs near the location of their shops. They delivered simple messages, they reached the ideal consumers, and this location-oriented approach has been in practice for roughly two centuries.
Modern location technology allows advertisements to be far more relevant and targeted, raising the chances of getting the right message to the right person. Here are three ways it can be done.
1 – Digital screens powered by location data
The digital display has obliterated the old static billboard. Today’s digital advertisements in public spaces can change in the blink of an eye. But their potential impact really blooms when you mix in location intelligence.
Consider all the digital screens in an airport. Looking at historical movement data from cameras alone; a marketing scientist can develop a model for how fast people pass through the terminals of an airport. If that scientist is truly talented, they can understand how fast or slow passengers move based on the time of day, the traffic in the airport, and where people are coming from.
Armed with that data model, the digital signage in the airport could transform to specifically address the people most likely walking by at that exact moment. Powered with location models, the digital billboards could suddenly gain subtitles in Hiragana when it’s more likely that passengers arriving from Tokyo are passing by. Later, those subtitles could switch to French shortly after a flight arrives from Paris. It’s location-enabled, reaches ideal consumers, and completely private.
2 – Advanced, hyper-relevant geofencing
Geofencing has been in place for some time. In practice, you might have an application on your phone that is connected to a franchise. That franchise can define a geofence around their location, or even one of their competitors. When the app on your phone connects inside that geofence, you’re served a sale incentive to visit that store.
In the future, geofencing will still be in use, but data will evolve simple proximity alerts into hyper-relevant, targeted messages. Imagine walking into your favorite store on the first cold day of the season. The store application on your phone knows the bulk of your shopping history, knows the weather outside, and might even know your habits of when you’re browsing versus when you’re buying. Next thing you know, you’re given a discount on a fall jacket that goes perfectly with the shirt you bought last month. Your size is in stock. It’s on the second floor in the back.
3 – Opt-in to a location-driven AI-assisted journey
The previous case uses personal information that consumers agree to share. In the future, a much more advanced exchange of user data being traded for value and services may exist. When that day comes, we can expect an intelligent, location-driven night out.
It will start when you arrive at the movie theater. The multiplex app knows when you’ve arrived outside, so it pre-orders a large popcorn and two small sodas for you and your date. Because the app also knows what movie you’re seeing, your concessions are waiting for you as you enter your theater.
At the end of the movie, your phone knows you stayed for the credits, so it provides an offer to buy tickets to a movie by the same director coming out in a few months. Your phone also knows you have dinner reservations in an hour and a half. There are plenty of ways to get there, but your phone knows historically that you prefer to take a cab to dinner when you’re on a date.
Outside, when you’re close to your cab, LEDs light up indicating you’ve found the car your phone summoned. The seat-back screen syncs with your online retailer browsing history, and shows you the shoes you’ve been stalking online. There’s a retailer just 2 blocks from your dinner reservation that will give you a discount if you stop by tonight. If you hit ‘yes’, they’ll be waiting for you as your driver’s route is updated so all you have to do is drive by… You get the idea.
That scenario is not far in the future. The basic techniques are already being put to work, but what remains is to put them all together into a single collaborative system. In the meantime, be sure to get to the theater early to buy popcorn.
Back to Top