National Shift Survey on Car Buying

Today we’re releasing data collected from our National Shift Survey on consumers’ experiences with car buying and selling, as well as their opinions on everything from ridesharing to seat warmers.

Drumroll, please….

The Industry Needs a #METOO Movement
Nearly 90 percent of women have felt spoken down to, belittled, or disrespected during the car buying/repair process. Sadly, we shouldn’t be surprised. Data shows car buying is ripe with discrimination and abuse, especially for women and people of color. The status quo is unacceptable – the industry can – and must – do better.

Car Ownership is Here to Stay
We’ve been saying this one for years. The conventional wisdom is wrong about the future of car ownership. According to our data, more than 87 percent of people have no intention of getting rid of their cars for ridesharing. Which makes sense. Have you ever tried strapping a car seat in an Uber?

Autonomous Cars Scare People
Nearly 70 percent of Americans (69%) said they wouldn’t feel safe in an autonomous car. While we’re super excited about the possibility of having driverless cars on our roads, the data shows Americans still need some convincing.

Customers Aren’t Asking for Much 
What can dealers do to improve the car buying experience? It’s simple.  Being honest is the number one thing our respondents told us car salesmen/women could do to make them more likely to buy a car (58%). In fact, honestly matters more than be offered discounted rates (48%) or extended warranties (45%).

Manual Cars Lack Love 
Over a third of the population would never consider a manual car (36%); plus an additional 13% bought one before, but wouldn’t again. That means,  nearly 50% of the population is automatic, all-the-way.

Basics Beat Bluetooths
This one made our engineers cry! Surprising, 66 percent consumers would rather have basics like leather interiors, seat warmers (we agree!) or automatic features (e.g., locks and windows) than high-tech features like Bluetooth, Wifi, Alexa, or a smart maintenance dashboard.

Safety features (e.g., backup cameras and blind spot detections) also ranked higher than high-tech features, but lower than seat warmers, and automatic features. Overall, people find tech in cars helpful (58%), but it’s not a must have (12%).

Dealerships = Time Sucks
More than 38% of people have spent four or more hours buying a car at a dealership. Flying from SFO to Cabo takes less time. Perhaps we should let these poor souls know that in addition to our free on-demand test drive, Shift now approves car loans in less than 15 minutes. How ’bout that?

  • More than 1,000 people over the age of 18 participated in this survey. 

 

How to make the most of your engineering internship

Are you about to start an engineering internship and are wondering how you can optimize your time there? Or maybe you’re starting your first full-time job and want to get started on the right foot. Throughout my internship at Shift and other past internship, I have learned many invaluable lessons that helped me grow as an engineer and perform well at my internships. Here are some of the lessons and tips that I find most important to optimize your internship!

Be customer focused

Whether you’re building a new consumer-facing feature or internal tool, you should always be thinking about your users and customers.

Who are the users of your project? Are they engineers, data scientists, or car buyers? Are they technical? What is going to bring the best user experience to them? Understanding your users will help drive the direction and vision of your finished product.

Why are they using it? Are they using the product to buy/sell a car, for entertainment, or something else entirely? This is a question to address early because if you can’t think of any reason why they would use what you’re building, you should hold off on writing code. Instead, talk to your manager, designers, and even customers to get a better understanding of why people would want your feature. This step will also help you understand the leverage and impact of your project!

How are they going to use it? Is it going to be a cron job that executes daily? A feature in a web application like my favorite internship project, an appraisal flow to help a customer sell their car! No matter what you are building, thinking about how people will use it drives the design and implementation of your project to provide the best user experience possible.

Constantly asking these three questions will optimize how you choose to approach, design and build your feature.

Take ownership of your work

What does it mean to take ownership? Ownership means you assume full responsibility for your work, and it’s one of the most important skills to practice as an intern. Ownership includes things like having a vision for what the finished product will look like, estimating how long it will take to build, seeing the project through to completion, and caring about the results of your work. A huge amount of ownership and responsibility is being thorough in how you approach things so that you build good software that your teammates can understand and maintain.

Be Proactive

There may be times where your project is blocked (waiting for approval or review) or finished, and it’s time to think about taking on more responsibility. Having a proactive mindset means you go out and look for ways you can be helpful to your team. It will exponentially increase your learning, opportunities, and, hopefully, impress your manager as well.

Shift was especially good at offering a diverse set of learning opportunities. Having a proactive mindset meant I was able to learn React.js, GoLang, and PostgreSQL, having no previous experience with any of them, all with

Mac and the Shift engineering team getting ice cream
Mac and the Shift engineering team getting ice cream

in the span of a 12-week internship. I was able to make infrastructure changes, create Ops tools, and even add new features to the consumer web and iOS app. Being proactive at Shift has allowed me to touch every part of the stack, many parts of the code base, and different parts of the business as well. You’ll be surprised how many things companies will let you work on if you show interest and initiative.

Minimize Technical Debt

Your goal as a software engineer is to write code to solve the problem in front of you, but when engineers cut corners and aren’t thoughtful about the long-term ramifications of what they build, technical debt can accrue. Technical debt is the accumulation of work that builds up as incomplete, untested, or poorly designed code is added to the system. Eventually, you have so much that you have to halt forward progress to fix the issues that have been creeping into your codebase. Addressing technical debt early on will help with a lot of issues later in the development funnel. It is important to have a well-designed solution to your problem because it makes it easier to maintain at scale in the future. Here is a list of things that could help limit technical debt:

  • Create a design/planning document
  • Consider many possible solutions and weigh the trade-offs
  • Write high-quality, well-documented code
  • Refactor code when possible
  • Write tests
  • Log errors

Taking the time to think about edge cases during your development can prevent problems for your teammates in the future. Some common edge cases are invalid data, missing data, and a large amount data. For consumer-facing features, screen resize and rotation is also something to consider. Once you’ve thought of every possible edge case while building your feature, schedule a bug bash where you invite teammates to help find issues with what you’ve built before you launch it. These can help you find even more edge cases you didn’t know to think about.

Log Everything

Logging and erroring effectively will do wonders for your teammates if any issue should arise in the future. For example, let’s take a look at a situation where you are creating an URL and sending a GET request to that URL, and it returns a 404 Not Found error. An in-effective log would be “Page not found” because this doesn’t help with resolving the issue. A more effective error log would be something like “<Project-name> – Failed to GET <url>: 404 Not Found”. With the second log, your teammates are informed which part of the codebase the error came from, what the request was, and the error, which will make it much easier to debug and fix.

Focus on your Personal Growth

Internships aren’t just about adding a company name to your resume or getting a return offer. They should, as much as possible, be about learning to be a great engineer. Focusing on personal growth will help you get the most out of your internship and will show your manager that you want to learn and grow. Here are some tips that I think were helpful for my growth throughout my internships:

Set goals

It’s a lot easier to achieve a goal if you have one in mind, so take some time to work with your manager on setting internship goals as early as possible. Preferably, set goals that are achievable and measurable and try to break them down into smaller objectives.

Ask Your Manager for Feedback

Getting feedback from your manager every week or every other week is critical for personal growth and achieving your internship goals. Many of the lessons I am writing about in this post was gathered from asking for feedback. Setting up a regular cadence for feedback makes it less scary to hear and more manageable to start addressing the feedback on how you can improve.

Code Reviews

Throughout my internships, I have seen a lot of fellow interns feel extremely worried after getting a code review. This shouldn’t be the case. Code reviews (when done correctly) aren’t about making anyone feel bad. Code reviews should be seen as a resource for learning style and best practices. It is a great way to acquire more insight from senior engineers at the company and learn from their experience and expertise. If possible, try to be a reviewer for someone else’s code. This will allow you to see the process from a different perspective and learn from it as well. One thing that has worked super well for me was reading code reviews and/or code written by the senior engineers at the company. You’ll learn a lot about design trade-offs, best practices, and solutions to interesting problems!

Have Fun

Last but not least, HAVE FUN! After all, you only get to be an intern a few times. Go to all of the intern and company events and meet everyone. You’ll not only have fun at these events, but you’ll build a strong network. The interns you meet at your internships will end up at a wide variety of companies, the mid-level and senior engineers you work with will soon become industry leaders, and people who are already prominent in their field are generally very nice about meeting interns and answering questions. But don’t just stop at intern events, plan some activities to get to know your fellow interns on the weekends. Go out, plan activities and get-togethers, or plan a weekend trip somewhere. Throughout my internship, I was able to make some life-long friends across the world and start building a network that will be invaluable to me throughout my career.

Getting Started with Go: 3 Tips for Engineering Interns

When I received my first code review as a fresh new engineering intern, I was horrified. How could I have received 87 comments on a 50 line code change? After getting A’s in all my CS classes, how could I be so unprepared for programming in the real world? After taking a deeper look at the comments, I realized that my fundamentals were fine, I simply didn’t know any of the industry style guidelines or best practices. The code review comments were extremely helpful in teaching me the industry standards for programming in Go. To help any future engineering interns, this blog post is a list of the three Go styles and best practices I wish I had known before I started my internship.

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10 Used Car Spring Deals You Don’t Want To Miss

Brace yourselves—Spring is coming! A new season brings in some new, awesome deals. We asked our pricing team to find you the some sweet deals on new rides to jumpstart the season. These cars are yours to test drive and buy at amazing below-market prices. Read on, and book a test drive now! Remember, we’ll bring the cars out to you wherever you are, whether you’re at home or at the office.

San Francisco Spring Car Deals

2015 Ford Edge SEL AWD

Ford Edge SEL 2015

Dealership: $26,698
Shift: $20,950
You Save: $5,748CarGurus great deal

That is one shiny, sleek blue vehicle. If you are looking for a good, functional vehicle with a little splash of personality, look no further than this Ford Edge SEL. This beauty comes with the technology package. Basically all the stuff you want plus more stuff you thought you never needed. Blind spot information system, back-up camera, rear parking aid, voice activated touch screen navigation, cross-traffic alerts, auto-dimming side view mirrors, and this thing even has an outlet. And the real kicker is that it’s only got 20K miles. Yes please.

Give it a test drive: 2015 Ford Edge SEL AWD

2014 Audi S4 Premium Plus

Audi S4 Premium Plus 2014 - Black Studio Masked

Dealership: $29,676
Shift: $25,650
You Save: $4,026CarGurus great deal

You know what is better than ice cream? Premium ice cream. What is better than premium ice cream? Premium ice cream at normal ice cream cost.

Come test drive this Audi S4 Premium Plus. Save over $4K below market price. Comes with a full-on navigation system, back-up cameras, parkings aids, heated front seats, leather and basically what you would expect from a “premium” Audi.

UPDATE: CAR JUST SOLD! Find similar cars here: 2014 Audi S4 Premium Plus

2014 Chevrolet Impala Limited LT

Dealership: $11,708
Shift: $8,000
You Save: $3,708CarGurus great deal

Perhaps you are thinking, I don’t need no flashy blue tech car or a premium anything. I just want something that will get me from point A to point B, it’s reliable, an awesome deal, has some cool perks and something other than a Civic or Corolla. Well, how about a Chevy Impala Limited LT? Got a little something extra with perks like remote engine start, keyless entry, dual climate control and of course got to have that AUX input. But more importantly, at only $8K, it’s a great option to consider.

UPDATE: CAR JUST SOLD! Find similar cars here: 2014 Chevrolet Impala Limited LT

2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sedan

Subaru Impreza 2.0 Sedan

Dealership:$15,706
Shift: $13,650
You Save: $2,056CarGurus great deal

So you are outdoorsy and environmentally friendly and just looking for a nice all-around car with of course, all-wheel drive. This Subaru Impreza provides just that. 28 city / 37 highway. Only ~25K miles. Perhaps this is the reliable, fun new partner you are looking for.

UPDATE: CAR JUST SOLD! Find similar cars here: 2015 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sedan

Continue reading “10 Used Car Spring Deals You Don’t Want To Miss”

How I Used Machine Learning To Price Used Cars

Andrew Carman is a software engineer at Shift.

At the core of any market is pricing. If you get pricing wrong, your marketplace doesn’t work. Our success at Shift—as a marketplace that makes it easy for anyone to buy and sell used cars—hinges on accurately and competitively pricing cars. 

Dealerships traditionally have a team of experts that price trade-ins for customers and manage the prices of their vehicles. They haggle over those prices with buyers that come to their dealerships, and often take advantage of consumers who have less access to car price data.

Our goal is to make selling and buying a car a fun, fair, and accessible experience by using technology to disintermediate what car dealerships do poorly. So we build software instead of back-office sales teams to price our cars, which increases efficiency, levels the playing field for our customers, and lets us systematically improve the accuracy of our pricing over time.

Read on to see exactly how we did it, and pass this along to the folks who might be interested in our approach.

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7 Handy Car Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

We all love our cars, but oftentimes we come across unavoidable problems and issues on the road that need a quick fix.  Below, we collected a slew of handy car hacks to make driving a breeze and tide you over until your next maintenance appointment. Read on, and share these tried-and-tested tips from Shift with your friends!

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10 Tips For Becoming A Better Teammate

Kate Heddleston is an Engineering Manager at Shift.

When I was first learning to play water polo, a coach told me something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Great players make everyone around them look like great players.” A great player can catch any pass, anticipating imperfect throws and getting into position. When they make a return pass, they throw the ball so that the other person can make the catch easily.

Here at Shift HQ, software engineering is a team sport. Like water polo, you can’t build incredible software systems alone. So when I first heard the concept of the 10x engineer, I was confused. How could someone be so talented that it overshadows the power of teamwork? In my experience, individual excellence is necessary, but not sufficient, for greatness. Focusing purely on individual achievement misses the larger picture that teams are required to build great software. So I decided to change the definition of a 10x engineer to this:

A 10x engineer isn’t someone who is 10x better than those around them, but someone who makes those around them 10x better.

Over the years I’ve combined my personal experience with research about building and growing effective teams and turned that into a list of 10 ways to be a better teammate, regardless of position or experience level. While many things on this list are general pieces of advice for how to be a good teammate, there is an emphasis on how to be a good teammate to people from diverse backgrounds. Read on, and pass this along to the people you work and collaborate with on the daily!

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Meet The Trailblazing Women Behind The Shift Team

Here at Shift, we’re committed to empowering the women in our team through opportunities in leadership and professional development. As disruptors in an industry that is predominantly full of men, we are committed to building a team where everyone can feel welcomed, connected, and engaged as equal partners.

In honor of International Women’s Day and the hashtag #PressForProgress, we asked some of the trailblazing women in our team to share their thoughts and insights about women in the workplace, and how their work impacts the lives of our customers and in shaping our company culture. Read on and get inspired!

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How To Prepare Your Kids For Daylight Saving Time

Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 11 — Daylight Saving Time (DST) is almost upon us! Ready to “spring” forward? This Sunday, you’ll need to advance your clocks with one hour. Later in the autumn, you’ll have to re-adjust the time back to the standard time, and “fall” back. It’s not that complicated, but when it comes to your kids, DST comes with its own set of issues. A new way to experience time can be a difficult adjustment for them.

Here at Shift, we have a lot of customers with kids, and some of us even have kids of our own. So we’ve collected some handy tips that will ease the transition for your children, and make the time change as natural for them as possible. Read on—and if you have some tips of your own, share them with us in the comments!

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Where To Go This Weekend In San Francisco (March 3-4, 2018)

In this series on Shift, we round up all the must-see places and events happening every weekend in San Francisco. Scroll down, so you don’t miss out!

With the 90th Academy Awards (a.k.a. the Oscars!) airing this Sunday, you might want to sit this weekend out and stay glued to your TV. But not so fast! We’re looking at an awesome agenda for you in the weekend ahead. To get you pumped up for the first weekend of March, read on for a few exciting events to entice you to get out, hop in your car, and have a blast.

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