Talk about the hustle. Myles Hunter and Ari Stiegler certainly have it. They were seniors at USC, majoring in business, when they found a way to bring in over six figures on a side gig. All by getting people to sign up for an app.
Pretty impressive. I can barely download an app myself, let alone convince hundreds of other people that something is so cool they must have it. Wouldn’t even know where to begin. But Hunter and Stiegler did not have that problem. They managed to bullshit their way into a hefty fee from Lyft for every person they got to sign up, then began moving. From a fascinating Fusion profile of two dudes with skill.
Their windfall came from work they did for pink-mustached ride-sharing service Lyft — not as fist-bumping drivers but as user recruiters. … Lyft paid them up to $20 per person who signed up — in real money, not in ride credit.
Like any college kid with a newfound windfall, they lived it up.
Hunter paid off his $30,000 in student loans, bought a BMW, and took a trip to Croatia, all while “living like a king” in Los Angeles, including “weekly lobster business meetings.”
Oh yea, very necessary. How’d the two get so much money from Lyft? Good old fashioned lying.
It started in 2013. “Uber came on the scene and asked club promoters to help them get users,” says Hunter … Hunter and Stiegler thought they could make more by helping out Uber’s lesser-known competition … Stiegler emailed Lyft’s general contact address in October of 2013 saying that Uber was paying recruiters $15 per user, and suggesting Lyft pay them $20.
In case you were wondering, Uber was paying ten. So they got double. But, hey man, respect. Get what you can get. Before long, Stiegler and Hunter were rolling in scratch.
“We were getting 100-200 users per week,” said Hunter. “Then we set up a kind of pyramid scheme where we got ambassadors to work under us and got a percentage of their earnings.”
They got hundreds of people in 54 cities to work under them, setting up Craiglists ads and job listings for people who wanted to get paid to promote Lyft. That way, they got grassroots recruiters pounding the sidewalks and got to tap into any more creative strategies these folks came up with.
This actually sounds like a lot of awful work. Fuck that. I’m quite happy not doing this and making less money.
They were pretty proud of their efforts.
“We gamed the system,” Hunter admits. “But we didn’t screw over Lyft. We used a lot of creative tactics to reach a lot of people who didn’t know about Lyft.”
Eventually, Lyft did catch on.
Over time, Lyft realized it didn’t necessarily need to outsource its operation to the USC students, and cut the rate it was paying them, first to $10 per user and now to $5. Stiegler and Hunter have stopped doing recruiting, though their promo code still brings in a small trickle of cash. “It’s not worth it for us anymore,” says Hunter. “We’re just getting $1,000 or $2,000 a month now. It’s heartbreaking. We’re making a tenth of what we were making before.”
Yes, my heart is broken for you and your $2,000 a month of side income.
Check out the full profile here, which includes a photo of the two dudes (yes, they look like Bros) at one of their lobster business meetings.