One reason why I don't find it particularly clever, is that it's really not all that different from all the physical junk mail I receive that tries to visually mimic some sort of important government notice.
That said, I'll give the man his props. This is ingenuity. Perhaps it's misdirected, to an extent. Perhaps it'll backfire. But it's something different. It is clever, regardless of whether we find it enjoyable or annoying.
EDIT: Minor nitpick, but I wouldn't have made so many grammatical errors in the fake ticket. They're pretty glaring. Especially for a first impression.
Are you really going to be pissed at that, or is that just one more pitch (that some on here think shows hustle)? Doubtful investors are going to be pissed at this, and ... so what if they are. A couple of hundred people just visited their web site, most of them with money to invest...
Like handing your CV outside a job fair instead of paying to go in. Those people are there for this very reason and won't be too upset by it. pg and team might be pissed however...
If I were a VC, my stomach might sink over the time I'd have to waste writing the check for the ticket and remembering where I put the stamps. Then when I noticed that it was just a "cute prank", I would resent whoever it was who was responsible for causing that sinking feeling.
Why would anyone want to associate their company with that?
However, what's there to lose?
This was a relatively common tactic in Chicago a few years ago, done by restaurants and a band if I remember correctly. Heading to your car on your way to work in the morning and finding a fake ticket that ended up being, as you say, junk mail, really made people angry. I am pretty sure the city got involved people were so mad.
// sorry to be a killjoy
This is just innovative guerrilla marketing.
The money he gives out is legal tender - $2 bills bought in sheets from the mint (they're his "local printer," you see). He just cuts them up and makes various unique forms of moneybook out of them, and he's OK with giving them out at below face value because the ensuing hilarity is worth it to him.
That's very different from making a fake document on official government letterhead or representing itself as a government document.
I really don't get the "word I typed is in the dictionary, but autocorrect thinks it found something better" use case.
"Try the new app right now, its beautiful:"
As clever as it is, it would have been far more effective if you had checked your grammar before printing two hundred flyers.
Regardless - I'd be quietly reprinting and replacing.
In this case, though, I don't feel that it's entirely trivial. Quality is something that happens top to bottom, I believe. Think about Apple -- while I dislike a lot of things they do as far as the walled garden goes -- I feel that they have a quality experience through and through. Every step along the way -- visiting the store, buying a product, even the packaging is well done.
When you have 30 seconds to make an impression on the people that might make or break your future, "that startup that littered a bunch of cars with dead trees and didn't even get someone to proofread" is not the kind of impression I'd want to be making.
Edit and wow, down-voted for telling someone to ease up on the submitter because there is a grammar mistake in the fake ticket? What the heck is wrong with this place? The community appears to be in a lot worse shape than I thought.
The grammar mistakes that fabricode (the guy you're responding to) is criticizing are in user- and investor-facing advertising copy. If superficial presentation matters anywhere, it matters there. And I feel like since this was something so bold, and those flyers and this post are probably going to be the most attention this company is going to get unless it takes off, the stakes are even higher. While it was maybe (maybe) a little snarky, no other top-level comment has pointed these mistakes out, and I think such cosmetic topics are fair-game to discussing things like this. If it's not already there, that criticism is pretty close to constructive given the subject matter.
"It happens, relax man."
I think you just left 118 pieces of litter (blowing off the parking lot into adjacent properties) at YC Demo Day. Hopefully you'll perform some sort of "green litter offset" trash pickup to mitigate the environmental impact. Perhaps that may be assigned to you if you're unlucky.
Still, some people actually do pay money for the fake v!@gra to keep spammers in business. The difference here is the other 99.99% of spam victims can't physically locate the spammer to clobber or harangue them.
A 6-months-later update to recount the results of this experiment would be a real service to entrepreneurs as either an inspirational or cautionary tale.
Paper's biodegradable. This is just littering.
Which is exactly why I love it.
Heck, let people call the police, go to jail for a couple of days or pay a fine, make a big ruckus about it, and make sure your company gets mentioned in all sorts of PR. Well done all the way around.
At least it shows these hackers are willing to go out and some promote their ideas.
Is it legal for a random person (not law/parking enforcement) to pick up the wiper and but whatever garbage they want under there?
Can I put my used McDonald's bag under someones wiper?
This is an all-purpose section that, for example, makes it possible to arrest someone who is walking down the street trying the handles on car doors to see if they are unlocked - even if they don't find any that are unlocked. I guess it would probably apply if someone broke off a windshield wiper while putting a pamphlet there. If someone was sufficiently irate, it might even apply to a used McDonald's bag being put under someone's wiper.
Interpreting "Legal speak" is not like a compiler checking syntax. It's more like interpreting a project's specifications in a way that makes sense. Just as in any important job, judgement matters.
NOBODY CARES ABOUT QR CODES
Yeah, I can go to tripl.com or whatever, also add your twitter/fb/G+ page otherwise you'll just look like some bozo stuck in Web 1.0 (contact by phone?!)
I'm willing to bet I can tap the install button for a given app faster than you can scan the equivalent QR code and hit install. The challenge is for iOS.
The workflow for scanning and actioning on a QR code is tediously slow. Unlock your phone. Page over a few times (because let's be honest, QR code scanner is not getting front-page placement on my home screen), open the app. Wait for it to initialize. Hold over QR code. Nope, closer/further. Ah there we go. Bam. Now tap on something to visit site. Wait for site to load. Oh wait, it's a redirect to the App Store. Wait for App Store to load...
A sufficiently short and easy to spell URL can be entered much, much, much faster than all of the above. If it's app-related, a sufficiently short and easy to spell app name will convert me faster than a QR code any day of the week.
Most of the time when I hear about an app, I'm at my computer. So I type in the full URL to get to that link or go to the App Store's slow search. Half the time there's several search result, and I'm fighting with iPhone's spell checker if it's a cutesy name or have to remember the company's naming scheme. (For example, I searched for "Flight Track" instead of "FlightTrack" and received tons of incorrect results.)
Another good use: connecting the physical world with digital when it's not practical to set up a short URL (think a church having a silent auction, with in-depth descriptions listed on the website)
cheald - please prove it by documenting yourself using a QR code and submit to http://picturesofpeoplescanningqrcodes.tumblr.com/
Next up Sasquatch!
No I will not install an app to install another app
Also, a QR code is opaque. What it will do? Open a page? Install what app? Compromise my cell phone with premium dialing sw?
Scanning a QR code sounds like it may take some time if you're in a rush.
What happened next however is the organisers behind the campaign were slapped with a littering charge, warned that it's actually highly illegal to impersonate a traffic fine even if you put a disclaimer on the fake infringement ticket. I don't recall what else they were fined for besides the littering charge, but I am pretty sure it cost them a small fortune combined with the other charges.
Be careful, this kind of gimmick could cost you dearly. City councils love a good opportunity to extort money out of people.
The email was a sale information message.
I complained to them immediately and haven't done any business with them since. Indeed this sort of dishonesty gets me to avoid as much as possible any support for a company. The message was not urgent in the least.
An antisocial attempt to con people in to paying more attention to your company: Hate is a word I seldom use but it seems valid here.
Presumably next up you'll be doing something like standing up in movie theatres shouting "fire!" so that people will exit past your friend holding an advertising board ...
I had a friend do something similar to another friend just as a prank. Everything about the "ticket" looked official except for small print at the very bottom, which gave it away. They actually bought a disposable camera, took photos of the parked car (it wasn't illegally parked), and went to develop the photos before the joke was revealed.
Let us know how it goes.
If you checkout his site at tript.com it's either poorly designed or people are already spamming his site under the 'Latest Travel Advice' section.
Huge difference in UI!
would be great if you could follow up with any interesting stories that came out of this.
"We weren't good enough to get into YC, but want to piggyback off of pitch day. Please please please visit our site! kthxbai"
Sadly, it's almost certainly against municipal code.
All it takes is one jerk to make a smart street team effort go bad by complaining to the police or mayor.
All one has to do is discard it. To go the extra mile to trudge down to the police station or Mayor's office and make a stink about it appearing to be a ticket would indeed make the person a vindictive jerk.
Now, as an aside, the mindset of one who sees a "ticket" on their car from a distance is probably not conducive to a positive response to the pitch.
The fact that the poster here clearly calculated the weight of his actions versus the impact of the preceding event the on the attendee was what I thought was interesting.
It's a calculated risk, and one or two pings of interest is clearly worth the possible fine.
Again, in my opinion.