It only feels like yesterday that Hailo swept onto the streets of Dublin.
It was in fact half a decade ago back in 2012, but I still remember that magical feeling of pushing a button and seeing a car rock up for the first time as if it were yesterday.
That first feeling of a cashless society. The warm fuzzy excitement of watching the car head towards your house on the app as you swigged that last sip of beer before a night out. Stepping out of a meeting and getting a taxi a minute later. Ordering a cab and having it waiting outside the nightclub.
Hailo was a revelation but all that magic is gone now, and we’ve moved backwards with the MyTaxi €2 fee yesterday being one of the last straws for consumers who were already wary of an app that no longer seemed to be as smooth as it once was.
The best thing about Hailo was that it just…worked. It’s a phrase that Steve Jobs used to use all the time when talking about Apple and their competitors and it applied to Hailo too.
You didn’t have to think. You just pushed the button and a cab always showed up. It was cheap, fast, efficient and always seamless.
It was so good you just had to use it.
Even their marketing was good. Their tone was friendly. Their customer service outstanding. Hailo felt like more than just a taxi app trying to make money. They felt like part of Dublin and they made the city a better place.
It’s not very often a company are so good that a whole city adopts their name as a verb. To Hailo. Thats what happened overnight but now we’re all a little confused. In a world where technology is meant to make everything better I am back standing in the rain with my arm out on a daily basis.
I’ve a feeling socio economic factors was a huge part of their success (there were tons of unemployed people driving taxis hence a huge oversupply of drivers) during their launch in 2012.
We might never get back to that place again where a huge Dublin taxi supply was so good for the consumers.
We were promised flying cars growing up and although they haven’t materialised, Hailo wasn’t a bad fall back. Being able to summon a personal driver with a tap of a button felt revolutionary.
It made me feel lie a rock star as a consumer. A simple idea but well executed and a jump forward for mankind.
I miss you Hailo.