jump to navigation

Uber Must Die June 6, 2017

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.

I dislike saying that, and I will get there in an indirect way.  I have a friend whose father recently passed, and as the executor she is required to bring his financial affairs to a conclusion.  She is dealing with utilities, banks, and a variety of other contact points, increasingly frustrated at the difficulty of closing, cancelling, or transferring accounts.  Her own company actually shut off the electricity to his condo, where she was now living.

The only exception is Fidelity, for retirement accounts.  She called Fidelity, expecting more of the same.  She got actionable advice, and the names and direct phone numbers of people who were willing to help her still further.  As a result, she wants to move not only his but all of her retirement assets into Fidelity accounts.

I would like to think that we tend to gravitate to companies that have good reputations, and provide good customer service.  Uber seems to be different, in that its users are able to divorce their use from the service from their understanding of the underlying company.

This is very wrong, of course.  I simply lack the fundamental understanding of why people frequent a company whose founder and CEO talked of starting an Uber-based dating service called “Boober.”

If you stand for anything at all, you must rail against this.  Yet people who use Uber don’t, oddly.

In fairness, Uber has done some things right.  It has provided a way to hail a taxi (even though that is still not what they claim to be) without knowing the local number of a taxi company.  People, oddly, don’t want to actually contact someone to get their ride.  But if you are a Uber user, you must know that your ride is subsidized, at around 60 percent, and someday they will have to significantly increase their prices.  Are you still onboard?

The problem is that the VCs are so financially invested that they can’t let it die, and will do anything to take it to an exit strategy.  So the VCs can’t get out.  Guess what?  You can.  Delete the app.  Take the additional friction of finding a cab.  You will grow as a human being.

But Uber is poison.  Beyond an initial goal to upend the taxi industry, it has no redeeming value.  Most of us care about the companies we do business with.  If you don’t care about Uber, you are very wrong.



1. It is Time to Say that Uber Has No Clothes | Cutting Edge Computing - December 21, 2017

[…] the way forward is not Uber.  I have railed against its antagonistic company culture, but this cuts right to the business model.  Uber will die, despite (or perhaps because of) its […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: