If two parties both send you a song and claim to own it, how would you determine who was the original creator? This is a nontrivial problem.
From what I understand, they defer to the party with the higher revenue/sales numbers. There are ways this can be abused, and we've seen plenty, but it at least provides a larger target to be sued if they are actually behaving fraudulently.
They should offer a cash reward that is less than their internal cost for a rebalancing operation. They should also implement congestion pricing. In Manhattan, I would love to be able to ride a citibike crosstown in mid town. Both stations are full in the middle of the day. If I take a bike out of the dock on the east side, I should get a credit, and I should pay money when I dock it at a busy station on the west side. It would be a wash for me, or I might pay a little. The upside is, those trips should be very easy for citibike to fullfill, it's not like riding out from an empty bike area to a crowded area.
In some cities they reward you for returning bikes to certain locations that have a borrow/return ratio imbalance. For example, they will add bonus minutes to your card so if you go over the standard single-trip time period (e.g. 30 minutes) you can use the extra minutes to avoid getting an extra charge.
Pittsburgh will be getting it's first bike sharing program this May, with 50 stations and I believe about 500 bikes.
If you've ever been to Pittsburgh you will immediately notice how hilly the city is in downtown and in neighboring Oakland. I look forward to the bike sharing program but I don't believe people will be very willing to bike uphill a significant distance without some reward like you are suggesting.
I can see how this would work for larger minorities, but it doesn't seem to scale (down): the smaller a minority, the higher variance you will see in your data. I'm not sure it helps at all when you get down to the point where you have only a single member of a group in your population.
If this is your standard for failure, you're going to experience quite a bit of selection bias:
- Anyone who actually is driven to the point of actually committing suicide will not be around to tell stories for obvious reasons.
- Anyone who is driven to the point of bankruptcy is unlikely to stick around the Valley with its incredibly high cost of living, (unless you are talking to the homeless, which it sounds like you aren't because there are plenty of stories of failures to hear).
- He or she also probably doesn't have money for a therapist.
Realistically, the reason people like failure stories is because it is encouraging when you are in the midst of one to see examples of cases where "it gets better". It doesn't cheapen our language to use failure in this way any more than it cheapens our language to use any other form of hyperbole.
I gave up a well-paying job moving up the IT ranks at a major national recession-proof corporation because I came down with a case of wanderlust. I squandered the money I had left and found a passion as a rock climbing instructor that left me worse off than broke. I owed money to two different national banks and was unable to open a new checking account anywhere for years. I worked a retail job for an outdoor store in one of the most economically depressed areas of the state, until I was fired for constantly being five to fifteen minutes late to work. I had no other job prospects and was left with a resume and work history that would ensure I was unemployable at my previous levels for pretty much the rest of my life. I gambled what I had left, which was almost nothing, and moved to another place with the hopes of getting a job I saw in a newspaper ad and starting over again. I was homeless and I lived out of my car for a while.
See, the thing is, nobody actually wants to hear that shit. Everybody wants to hear about why that whole period of life was actually really amazing (and some parts of it were pretty good), or they want to hear the upbeat happy ending (and there is one, in this case).
But nobody wants to actually hear about a lack of success, or, like that Cake song goes, a bit of interrupted prosperity.
The people that have those stories to tell pretty quickly learn not to tell them, and what's left are people whose version of failure is, "I screwed up an account one time."