Disruption’s Tragic Flaw The case of Uber shows why European companies should not follow the example of their American competitors too closely. It pays to take the needs of customers and contractors into account.
After months of trying to investigate what it's like to be an UberX driver, Emily Guendelsberger of the Philadelphia City Paper decided to become one herself. She also picked up some tricks on how to do it along the way.
Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy. Shannon Liss-Riordan has filed lawsuits against five of the largest "sharing economy" start-ups (Uber, Lyft, Homejoy, Postmates, and Caviar), contending that they pay the people who supply the equipment and manpower that power their businesses like independent contractors, while burdening them with the work expectations of employees. Previously.
...And Crafted The Best Seed Portfolio Ever
But his track record is also flecked with broken friendships and hard feelings. While he keeps a relatively low media profile–this story marks the first time he’s cooperating for a major story–his big mouth, incessant name-dropping and blunt elbows cause eyes to roll. “He’s got a bit of a hero complex,” says a peer who knows him well. “He’s an amazing investor, but that’s not enough–he has to do this heroic stuff.” At Google he crashed every meeting he could and then wouldn’t shut up. Twitter eventually had to pass a rule, driven in part by Sacca, barring nonemployees from showing up at all-staff meetings. He and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, once close friends, now barely speak, despite Sacca’s major stake in the company.
The Shut-In Economy The dream of on-demand, delivery everything is splitting tech-centered cities into two new classes: shut-ins and servants.
Uber and Airbnb monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous—and evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population. [more inside]
Full of assumptions, still thought-provoking article about self-driving cars by writer Zach Kanter, How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025. [more inside]
Blake Ross details the ways in which the Nevada Taxicab Authority is fighting back against unscrupulous taxi drivers and out-innovating Uber & Lyft in the process.
Ben Smith of Buzzfeed reports: Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists [more inside]
Silicon Valley's Contract Worker Problem Earlier this year, I hired a house cleaner. I wouldn't have done so normally, but my place was a mess, I was busy at work, and I saw an offer on Facebook that looked too good to be true — a San Francisco start-up called Homejoy was offering home cleanings in the Bay Area for $19. (Not $19 per room or $19 per hour. Just $19.) So I booked an appointment through Homejoy's website, and a day later, a young man showed up at my door. [more inside]
"Using contractors it calls "brand ambassadors," Uber requests rides from Lyft and other competitors, recruits their drivers, and takes multiple precautions to avoid detection. The effort, which Uber appears to be rolling out nationally, has already resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides and made it more difficult for its rival to gain a foothold in new markets. Uber calls the program "SLOG," and it’s a previously unreported aspect of the company’s ruthless efforts to undermine its competitors."
In capital cities across Europe, taxi drivers took to the streets without passengers Wednesday afternoon. They slowed to a snail's pace in what Parisians called "Operation Escargot." Horns blared around Trafalgar Square in London. In Berlin, taxis massed at the Central Station. All to protest the smartphone app Uber. [more inside]
On Monday, Toronto received over 100mm of rainfall, leading to severe flooding, power outages, and hundreds of thousands of stranded drivers and transit users. Uber, a startup that matches taxis with passengers, instituted "surge pricing" - did they break the cardinal "don't be an asshole" rule?
Heyride, an Austin startup that is revolutionizing the way you get around town, received a cease-and-desist from the City of Austin. This follows Uber's forced NYC shutdown last month, along with California sending cease-and-desists to Lyft, Sidecar, and Tickengo. Paul Carr links these disruptive technologies to Metafilter fave author Ayn Rand (previous thread); it's not the first time he's taken on the nerds. Wharton and Wired weigh in.
Travis Shrugged: The creepy, dangerous ideology behind Silicon Valley’s "Cult of Disruption"
Almost all the everyday complaints about cabs trace back to this regulatory cocktail. Drivers won’t take you to the outer reaches of your metropolitan area? The regulated fares won’t let them charge you more to recover the cost of dead-heading back without a return customer. Cabs are poorly maintained? Blame restricted competition, and the inability to charge for better quality. Cabbies drive like maniacs? With high fixed costs for cars and gas, and no way to increase their earnings except by finding another fare, is it any wonder that they try to get from place to place as fast as possible? Uber makes its money at least in part by alleviating these inefficiencies. In most places, “black car” or livery services are regulated differently, and more lightly, than taxis are. Though Uber has good reason not to say so, it’s basically turning livery services into cabs. The company is one step further removed from regulation, because it doesn’t run cars itself; it funnels passengers to existing services. “We’re sort of like an efficient lead-generation system for limo companies,” says Kalanick, “but with math involved.” - Megan McArdle analyses taxi regulation in the US and the taxi startup, Uber
Ubersuper is the place where Stefan Sicher shares inspiration and has fun. It has lead me to Soviet Propaganda Posters, Generating Art from Computer Games, Bruce Mozert's Underwater Photos, a cool stop motion video and much more.
ePimps tell your tales! Uber and So New Media have a special request for all the "eLovas" of the world. Have you got an eLove story to share? And is this funny, or a commentary on the lengths to which people will reach for love?