Here’s the scoop… I belong to a motorcycle forum. In fact it’s not only vendor specific, it’s make and model specific. These are not uncommon.
One of the things this forum has put together (or rather someone on the forum) is an ‘Assistance List’. Similar to the phone book of people you get if you join the BMW MOA.
The primary idea behind it is simply this: You break down in the middle of nowhere, you whip out your list (or BMW MOA Book), look for someone willing to help, in the middle of nowhere and you get back on the road. Or you’re riding home from a long trip and get hit with some really nasty weather. (I don’t know, maybe it snows or something), you whip out said list and perhaps you find someone willing to put you up.
While thankfully I have not needed to use my list, some folks have. I’m listed in the list as having a trailer, tent space, able to put up a bed for a night, have tools, etc.
The *problem* is simply this:
Keeping all this information up-to-date is a very manual process. People email one person who keeps this list in Excel or an access database or something. Every so often the list gets pushed out to the subscribers (manually I might add). You might get a copy and see that you dropped off the list, or that something’s wrong. The cycle repeats, but it’s all very manual.
But what if…
What if there was a website/service that managed this stuff. What if you wanted, or were able to be on more than one list? I currently have two bikes, neither of which are a BMW, but if someone needed help and had a BMW (or even a Harley for that matter) I wouldn’t turn them away.
What if all you had to do was sign up for your list one time, then add yourself to other lists as needed? The site/service took care of notifying members based upon their preferences. With each update, or once a month, or what have you?
Will people use this? Would they trust the entity to keep their info private? I’m not thinking about this as a business. I honestly don’t see a business here. This thing would not make money, and it would be work on top of that. But if we leveraged the technology available, it would be far less work on the long run than maintaining one list manually.
I’ve mocked up the site somewhat, here’s an example of the personal preferences:
I would join the list of FJR brethren, and if there is a group of ZX/11 riders I’d probably put myself on that list too.
This could be used for multiple purposes. But before I put any blood/sweat or tears into it I’d want to know if it makes any sense. Currently being on the list I’m on doesn’t cause me much pain, other than I have to make sure I keep the latest copy around. If I were heading out on a trip I’d really like to be able to log in to a site and get the absolute latest list. But maybe that’s just me.