Logan Green is a nice guy. So nice, in fact, that investors were initially hesitant to put their money into his business. But instead of battling that image, Green has fully embraced it, striving to spread that nice image throughout everything his transportation network does. It's a strategy that pays off. While rival Uber has dealt with its fair share of problems, Lyft has managed to escape controversy, in part through proactively "playing nice" with local regulators.

Green has had his vision of replacing cars with a rideshare option for years, but he's still constantly refining it. Like many companies, however, Lyft faces the challenge of remaining true to its original concept as it grows into a much larger company. Green discussed his future plans for the company at Startup Grind 2015 conference in Redwood City, as well as the benefits of being a nice company.

Logan Green and Derek Andersen at Startup Grind 2015

Enhancing His Product

The company recently launched Lyft Line, which allows multiple riders to share a ride with other passengers going the same way. In San Francisco, Lyft Line users can actually use the service for a lower cost than they'd pay to own and maintain a car over its lifetime.

Interestingly, just after Lyft Line launched, Uber announced a competing project. But while Lyft's customers enjoyed the service, Uber's customers hated it. Green chalks the difference up to the culture Lyft has been able to create in which its customers actually enjoy the social experience of sharing a ride.

"I think we've built a bit of a culture and a market around people who are open and seek out that social interaction," says Green. "I think we've done more to make that comfortable by establishing a social etiquette from the beginning."

Making Nice

After noting the realities of the cab experience, Green made it his mission to create a nice transportation experience for customers. Both passengers and drivers have a more enjoyable experience due to the culture Green has created. But it hasn't been easy. Like Uber, Lyft has faced opposition to its emergence on the scene. Unlike Uber, though, Green and his team have been working directly with each city to develop updated regulations that benefit everyone.

In addition to his proactive measures to develop positive relationships, Green has also overseen market studies that show Lyft's benefits on local economies. "Just in California alone, Lyft injected $150 million into the economy through people taking trips and spending money locally that they wouldn't have," Green says. "I think its time has come and all the regulations are changing but that's a messy process."

A Safer Alternative

While Lyft and Uber have faced a great deal of noise surrounding their services, Green points out that none of that noise is related to safety concerns. The issues almost exclusively surround the monopolies transportation companies have previously held. Green emphasizes that Lyft does more extensive background checks than any taxi or limousine company is required to do. Mostly Green finds himself dealing with changing regulations in some places that simply disallow drivers from using their own personal vehicles to offer rides to consumers for a fee.

Instead of being aggressive and demanding, Green has found the best way to change regulations is to play nice. "Particularly when it comes to the regulatory environment, being a jerk doesn't actually get you very far," Green says. "The folks that you need to work with are the ones who are making the decisions. A lot of the other companies in the space have really left a bad taste in regulators' mouths. It's actually been a huge advantage when we come in and we take the time to sit down and get to know them, explain the business, explain what we do. I think we've gotten a lot further being able to change regulations with that approach."

Green is proof that having a "nice" image can serve as an advantage. With the biggest market share in many markets, Lyft's positive, friendly approach has helped it get further both with customers and regulators, proving that business savvy is not synonymous with aggressive, domineering behavior.

See the full interview on YouTube.

Published on: Feb 14, 2015