Passion Miner with a Heart of Gold
Matt Lock, Co-Founder, The Go Collective
One of Lyft’s first 10 drivers, Matt Lock leveraged his car to follow his dreams. He’s living proof that the collaborative economy is not only better for the world’s resources, but a legitimate way to make money and do what you love. As a self-proclaimed “Passion Miner”, he was hired by Lyft a year ago to help build the fleet. Today he’s following his heart, leaving the hottest startup in the bay area and taking off on a learning journey with a group of 20-somethings to build technology hubs around the world. First stop, Santiago, Chile.
Julian sat down with Matt at Causes HQ in SOMA to learn about the imminent journey with his “Gohort” and the Lyfts that changed his life.
Julian: How did you become one of Lyft’s first drivers?
Matt: I used to do ride shares all the time. I had never heard of the “collaborative economy”. It didn’t really have a name then. In 2012 I ran across this company called Zoom Ride that was putting ride shares up and you could buy a seat in a car. I was like, oh what is this? Looks weird, is it legit? So I felt everything out and sure enough I got a ride with this really cool girl down to Coachella for like $20! I sat in the front seat and got to know her. It was really sweet.
J: The girl or the Lyft?
M: Haha, right, during that time Lyft was just an idea and they were reaching out to people who took Zoom Rides. At the time I was working at a startup and I wasn’t really happy anymore and I was looking for new opportunities. I got the email from them and I didn’t know what Lyft could become, but I was like, “Yeah! Let’s do it!”
J: What were your first days like?
M: At first I didn’t know what I was doing. I was sitting on the road with Lyft when we were first launching the beta and it was dead every day. I didn’t know what to expect and eventually it started picking up and I was like “Oh, this models really interesting.” I met a lot of cool people when I was driving and I started reading books about the collaborative economy to find out more. The first book being by Rachel Botsman, “What’s Mine is Yours”, that opened me up, “Oh my god you can make money sharing stuff!” How freaking cool is that, right?!
J: How can you make a living sharing stuff?
ML: If you have a Prius man, you’re killing it. I know a guy who just uprooted their life from the 9–5 and started doing Lyft and was able to empower themselves to go back into what they loved, stage production. He was able to travel to any city he wanted, anytime. He’s one of the biggest, most important people in Lyft now, he’s manifesting what makes this model so beautiful. I’ve heard many stories like, “I want to make enough so I can buy my fiancee a wedding ring.” Let’s say you hate your boss, you can figure out a way to get out of that. You don’t have to be stuck in anything anymore and I think that’s what the excitement is about it. I made enough to spend half of my time getting Om Records off the ground. I could choose my work hours and do what I loved too.
JC: You’ve been able to make a living from the collaborative economy. Participating in capitalism but shifting the value from “oh I need something so I’m going to buy it” to “what do we have around us, how can we create value that way?” I don’t think everybody sees that when they see a pink mustache to recognize the power of that on the road.
ML: What’s really exciting about it is that it also humanizes a transaction. It’s the merging of online and offline, empowered by mobile. Is the industry changing? Right now we’re just in the early stages of it…
JC: So how did you end up getting hired internally by Lyft?
ML: After driving for a year I got the call on my birthday. I thought the startup was already amazing. I’ve been studying startups for the last three plus years. I’ve loved entrepreneurship since I was a child and on top of that I was a mobile geek all my life. I came in and worked passionately. I coined the term “Passion Miner”, because that was just my thing. It became my job title. You can work freely for yourself off of an asset, which is your car, and power yourself enough times so that you can pursue the things that you want to. Let’s say you need to travel for a couple months to do your music, you can! You can drive for x amount of hours to have enough resources to go do that. It empowers your passions!
JC: Tell me more about Passion Mining
ML: When I was supporting new drivers getting into the fleet, I’d ask them, “What is it that you want to do? What moves you? What excites you?” I believe that people will work a lot harder for the things that they love rather than working for a 9–5 paycheck. Self-actualization is the most important reason why we work and these platforms empower that. That’s why I’m so excited to go look at what the world thinks of that.
JC: You’re leaving one of the hottest startups in San Francisco. What’s your heart saying about that, what’s your head saying about it? How do you feel?
ML: My heart says I am doing the right thing because I can catapult my career to a level I can’t even put a dollar amount on. I want to travel, I want to be able to work with the world. My head’s like, “How the fuck are you going to be able to sustain yourself? What are you going to do? What if you don’t get paid?” I’m just really focused purely on value; value for myself, value for what I can bring. From there I feel like I couldn’t give someone full control over my career.
JC: Did you have any doubts about making this move?
ML: I actually quit this project at first, I was like “Guys I love Lyft and I can’t do this.” And that’s when I realized I actually have to go design my career in the way that I want it. I don’t think I’ll ever have this opportunity to go travel the world with such an amazing group of people and connect with the people we’re going to work with in Santiago. This project is a once in a lifetime thing, regardless if I don’t win monetarily, I will win spiritually and gain a lot of insight and a lot of value for any company I might end up at.
JC: So whats the project called?
ML: The Gohort project, the Gollaborative! The idea is just to pick up and go, go do it! Go do it before you can’t. A group of eight people, all in our twenties, leaving some pretty cool companies. Leaving security behind to see if we can go actually create security around the world. It’s crazy, exciting, we don’t know what it’s going to look like. We’re just going to get on the ground and put our heads down and start working.
JC: Work with who?
ML: Luck has it that we were able to connect with the Chilean government and they are pushing us out to all their government funded initiatives, a bunch of companies out there that are really pushing this tech movement. Santiago wants to be one of the leading tech cities in South America.
JC: How are you preparing yourself to leave?
ML: Just realizing that, oh god, it’s happening. This is actually real. I’m leaving everything, I’m selling everything. I am getting rid of all the things that made me before I leave. I’m getting rid of all my stuff. I’m realizing that when I get rid of everything I’ll see what life is really like.
JC: Would this have been possible any other time in your life?
ML: Sometimes I feel like maybe I’m living in a dream world, I don’t have family yet, I don’t have kids yet. I can make these irrational decisions of throwing myself at the wind and seeing where it takes me. I feel I’m a lot more energized now, even as I’m getting ready to leave. Opportunities keep popping up in the midst of all this…
JC: What’s your dream job?
ML: Maybe I’ll build my own startup one day. Working somewhere where I have built something to help people live the lives they’ve never dreamed of or only dreamed of.