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I tells ya....Uber be ferked. (Read 5045 times)
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #135 - Jun 22nd, 2017 at 5:06pm
 
How long have I been saying it?  Uber be ferked I tells ya!

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From many passengers’ perspective, Uber is a godsend — lower fares than taxis, clean vehicles, courteous drivers, easy electronic payments. Yet the company’s mounting scandals reveal something seriously amiss, culminating in last week’s stern report from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Some people attribute the company’s missteps to the personal failings of founder-CEO Travis Kalanick. These have certainly contributed to the company’s problems, and his resignation is probably appropriate. Kalanick and other top executives signal by example what is and is not acceptable behavior, and they are clearly responsible for the company’s ethically and legally questionable decisions and practices.

But I suggest that the problem at Uber goes beyond a culture created by toxic leadership. The company’s cultural dysfunction, it seems to me, stems from the very nature of the company’s competitive advantage:
Uber’s business model is predicated on lawbreaking. And having grown through intentional illegality, Uber can’t easily pivot toward following the rules.

Uber’s Fundamental Illegality

Uber brought some important improvements to the taxi business, which are at this point well known. But by the company’s launch, in 2010, most urban taxi fleets used modern dispatch with GPS, plus custom hardware and software. In those respects, Uber was much like what incumbents had and where they were headed.

Nor was Uber alone in realizing that expensive taxi medallions were unnecessary for prebooked trips — a tactic already used by other entrepreneurs in many cities. Uber was wise to use smartphone apps (not telephone calls) to let passengers request vehicles, and it found major cost savings in equipping drivers with standard phones (not specialized hardware). But others did this, too. Ultimately, most of Uber’s technical advances were ideas that competitors would have devised in short order.

Uber’s biggest advantage over incumbents was in using ordinary vehicles with no special licensing or other formalities.
With regular noncommercial cars, Uber and its drivers avoided commercial insurance, commercial registration, commercial plates, special driver’s licenses, background checks, rigorous commercial vehicle inspections, and countless other expenses. With these savings, Uber seized a huge cost advantage over taxis and traditional car services. Uber’s lower costs brought lower prices to consumers, with resulting popularity and growth. But this use of noncommercial cars was unlawful from the start.
In most jurisdictions, longstanding rules required all the protections described above, and no exception allowed what Uber envisioned. (To be fair, Uber didn’t start it — Lyft did. More on that later on.)

What’s more, Uber’s most distinctive capabilities focused on defending its illegality.
Uber built up staff, procedures, and software systems whose purpose was to enable and mobilize passengers and drivers to lobby regulators and legislators — creating political disaster for anyone who questioned Uber’s approach. The company’s phalanx of attorneys brought arguments perfected from prior disputes, whereas each jurisdiction approached Uber independently and from a blank slate, usually with a modest litigation team. Uber publicists presented the company as the epitome of innovation, styling critics as incumbent puppets stuck in the past.

Through these tactics, Uber muddied the waters. Despite flouting straightforward, widely applicable law in most jurisdictions, Uber usually managed to slow or stop enforcement, in due course changing the law to allow its approach.
As the company’s vision became the new normal, it was easy to forget that the strategy was, at the outset, plainly illegal.

Rotten to the Core

Uber faced an important challenge in implementing this strategy: It isn’t easy to get people to commit crimes. Indeed, employees at every turn faced personal and professional risks in defying the law; two European executives were indicted and arrested for operating without required permits.
But Uber succeeded in making lawbreaking normal and routine by celebrating its subversion of the laws relating to taxi services. Look at the company’s stated values — “super-pumped,” “always be hustlin’,” and “bold.” Respect for the law barely merits a footnote.


Uber’s lawyers were complicit in building a culture of illegality. At normal companies, managers look to their attorneys to advise them on how to keep their business within the law.
Not at Uber, whose legal team, led by Chief Legal Officer Salle Yoo, formerly its general counsel, approved its Greyball software (which concealed the company’s practices from government investigators) and even reportedly participated in the hiring of a private investigator to interview friends and colleagues of litigation adversaries.

Having built a corporate culture that celebrates breaking the law, it is surely no accident that Uber then faced scandal after scandal. How is an Uber manager to know which laws should be followed and which ignored?


[Cont.]

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« Last Edit: Jun 22nd, 2017 at 5:13pm by Aussie »  

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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #136 - Jun 22nd, 2017 at 5:08pm
 
[Cont.]

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A Race to the Bottom

The 16th-century financier Sir Thomas Gresham famously observed that bad money drives out good. The same, I’d suggest, is true about illegal business models.
If we allow an illegal business model to flourish in one sector, soon businesses in that sector and others will see that the shrewd strategy is to ignore the law, seek forgiveness rather than permission, and hope for the best.

It was Lyft that first invited drivers to provide transportation through their personal vehicles. Indeed, Uber initially provided service only through licensed black cars properly permitted for that purpose. But as Lyft began offering cheaper service with regular cars, Uber had to respond.
In a remarkable April 2013 posting, Kalanick all but admitted that casual drivers were unlawful,
calling Lyft’s approach “quite aggressive” and “nonlicensed.” (After I first flagged his posting, in 2015, Uber removed the document from its site. But Archive.org kept a copy. I also preserved a screenshot of the first screen of the document, a PDF of the full document, and a print-friendly PDF of the full document.) And in oral remarks at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in June 2013, Kalanick said every Lyft trip with a casual driver was “a criminal misdemeanor,” citing the lack of commercial licenses and commercial insurance.

Given Kalanick’s statements, you might imagine that Uber would have filed a lawsuit or regulatory complaint, seeking to stop unfair competition from a firm whose advantage came from breaking the law. Instead, Uber adopted and extended Lyft’s approach. Others learned and followed:
Knowing that Uber would use unlicensed vehicles, competitors did so too, lest they be left behind. In normalizing violations, therefore, Uber has shifted the entire urban transport business and set an example for other sectors.

Fixing the Problem

It’s certainly true that, in many cases, companies that have developed a dysfunctional management culture have changed by bringing in new leaders. One might think, for example, of the bribery scandals at Siemens, where by all indications new leaders restored the company to genuine innovation and competition on the merits.

But because Uber’s problem is rooted in its business model, changing the leadership will not fix it. Unless the model itself is targeted and punished, law breaking will continue.
The best way to do this is to punish Uber (and others using similar methods) for transgressions committed, strictly enforcing prevailing laws, and doing so with little forgiveness.
Since its founding, Uber has offered literally billions of rides in thousands of jurisdictions, and fines and penalties could easily reach hundreds of dollars for each of these rides.

In most jurisdictions, the statute of limitations has not run out, so nothing prevents bringing claims on those prior violations. As a result, the company’s total exposure far exceeds its cash on hand and even its book value. If a few cities pursued these claims with moderate success, the resulting judgments could bankrupt Uber and show a generation of entrepreneurs that their innovations must follow the law.

Uber fans might argue that shutting down the company would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater — with passengers and drivers losing out alongside Uber’s shareholders. But there’s strong evidence to the contrary.

Take the case of Napster. Napster was highly innovative, bringing every song to a listener’s fingertips, eliminating stock-outs and trips to a physical record store. Yet Napster’s overall approach was grounded in illegality, and the company’s valuable innovations couldn’t undo the fundamental intellectual property theft. Under pressure from artists and recording companies, Napster was eventually forced to close.

But Napster’s demise did not doom musicians and listeners to return to life before its existence. Instead, we got iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify — businesses that retained what was great and lawful about Napster while operating within the confines of copyright law.

Like Napster, Uber gets credit for seeing fundamental inefficiencies that could be improved through smart deployment of modern IT. But that is not enough.
Participation in the global community requires respect for and compliance with the law.
It is tempting to discard those requirements when a company brings radically improved services, as many feel Uber did. But in declining to enforce clear-cut rules like commercial vehicle licensing, we reward lawbreaking and all its unsavory consequences. Uber’s well-publicized shortcomings show all too clearly why we ought not do so.
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« Last Edit: Jun 22nd, 2017 at 5:17pm by Aussie »  

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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #137 - Jun 22nd, 2017 at 6:59pm
 
You don't need to worry about Uber because it has many competitors. So even if Uber goes it will have many willing to take its place Wink

https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/263249/who-are-ubers-biggest-competitors
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #138 - Jun 22nd, 2017 at 7:10pm
 
Sir lastnail wrote on Jun 22nd, 2017 at 6:59pm:
You don't need to worry about Uber because it has many competitors. So even if Uber goes it will have many willing to take its place Wink

https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/263249/who-are-ubers-biggest-competitors


Sure....no worries.  So long as they comply with the Law on a level playing field, all good.

Problem is...they can't survive on their business models, just like Uber can't.  It is just throwing money into a very black hole.

I tells ya. 

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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #139 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 8:30am
 
Lots of news about some passenger suing Uber for his stolen laptop in a car. Can't believe the courts awarded him what he asked for, including court costs and other fees.
Whenever I get in a private car, I always note the license plate and the driver's name. If I have to leave something in the car to remove something else (say leaving a backpack but removing luggage) I turn my video camera on my phone on and tell the driver "please turn off the engine while I remove my backpack and luggage."
If a driver steals from me, I just go to small claim's court and get a judgment. Then I sell that judgment to a collector for pennies on the dollar so it will bugger up his credit for 10 years.
I wouldn't hold Uber responsible for what a private driver does. Uber just puts me in touch with drivers who want me to hire them for 1 ride. They are not employees of Uber.
Does Yelp employ all the restaurants and stores they connect customers with?
Does Google employ all the news sites and blogs they connect customers with?
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #140 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 4:14pm
 
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #141 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 5:19pm
 
Jovial Monk wrote on Jun 28th, 2017 at 4:14pm:


Yes.  Arseholes, they be.  And Uber be ferked!
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #142 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 6:49pm
 
Giddyup!  Here comes the Workplace Ombudsman!

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I tells ya .... Uber be ferked.

Grin
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #143 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 9:41pm
 
Aussie wrote on Jun 28th, 2017 at 6:49pm:
Giddyup!  Here comes the Workplace Ombudsman!

Link.

I tells ya .... Uber be ferked.

Grin


I hope that something good comes out of all this.

If it is to protect the current Taxi Industry and nothing else, it will be a great disservice to the people who need the services.  Uber showed how flawed the Taxi Industry is (for all their own flaws).

If that isn't fixed then it will have been nothing but a monopoly protecting waste of time.
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #144 - Jun 28th, 2017 at 9:48pm
 
Sad Kangaroo wrote on Jun 28th, 2017 at 9:41pm:
Aussie wrote on Jun 28th, 2017 at 6:49pm:
Giddyup!  Here comes the Workplace Ombudsman!

Link.

I tells ya .... Uber be ferked.

Grin


I hope that something good comes out of all this.

If it is to protect the current Taxi Industry and nothing else, it will be a great disservice to the people who need the services.  Uber showed how flawed the Taxi Industry is (for all their own flaws).

If that isn't fixed then it will have been nothing but a monopoly protecting waste of time.


Level playing field. 

I don't care who wants to be part of the 'Cab' Industry, so long as we are all obliged to play by the same Rules.  Uber could not care about Rules, and even then, is still not financially viable.  It is bleeding billions and is flouting the Law.

When is the last time you actually took a Cab?
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #145 - Jul 2nd, 2017 at 6:37am
 
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #146 - Jul 2nd, 2017 at 5:47pm
 
The ATO is going to have a field day with Uber drivers and the like this year by the looks of it.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/ato-writes-to-60000-uber-and-other-ridesharing-dr...
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #147 - Jul 2nd, 2017 at 5:56pm
 
Jovial Monk wrote on Jul 2nd, 2017 at 5:47pm:
The ATO is going to have a field day with Uber drivers and the like this year by the looks of it.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/ato-writes-to-60000-uber-and-other-ridesharing-dr...


Yeas, old news in a recent story.  Uber be ferked, I tells ya.

Always was, is, and always will be.  But......the knuckleheads keep thinking that buying 'tax free' alcohol out of the boot of a private car parked under a shady tree (instead of from a licenced retailer) because it is cheaper will be a great way to go, and will last.

Idiots.
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #148 - Jul 2nd, 2017 at 6:10pm
 
Aussie wrote on Jul 2nd, 2017 at 5:56pm:
Jovial Monk wrote on Jul 2nd, 2017 at 5:47pm:
The ATO is going to have a field day with Uber drivers and the like this year by the looks of it.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/ato-writes-to-60000-uber-and-other-ridesharing-dr...


Yeas, old news in a recent story.  Uber be ferked, I tells ya.


You keep saying that and there isn't much debate on the issue, certainly not from me.

But as I've also said, Uber's popularity and uptake just goes to show, even with all their faults, how bad the alternative is.

I wouldn't shed a tear if Uber disappeared.  It's become almost impossible to make a buck or stand out as a driver.

But the Taxi industry innovated via their monopoly, meaning they didn't really do much if anything for far too long.

It was only until after Uber that the local Gold Coast booking system developed apps for booking.  You still can't pay via the app and literally, the first iteration of the app was a "Book Now" button which triggered your phone to call the booking number.

For me the ease of use of an Uber plus not having to wait for over an hour at the taxi rank to get a ride home on a Saturday night was the biggest drawing card.  I could book the Uber, stay in the Pub/Club until it got close then head outside.

You book a Taxi, you might get an SMS when they're near, head outside, wait another 15-20 minutes then they show.

Ignoring their (Edit: Uber's) operating issues, their booking, tracking and payment system, basically the App itself was what made me switch.

If there was an app like this for regular Taxis I would have never used an Uber.  I don't mind paying a fair price to get home safely and to enjoy my night without the responsibility of driving, but after using Uber, Taxis seem inconvenient and antiquated.

I also have friends who have seen the value of their Taxi plates drop in a big way and I empathise for them.  It's not up to them to innovate in the booking and payment space, but at the same time when the Uber experiment is over or the playing field leveled, if the Taxi industry fails to innovate to at least the standard of Uber's booking, tracking and payment systems it will have all been for nothing.
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Re: I tells ya....Uber be ferked.
Reply #149 - Jul 2nd, 2017 at 6:24pm
 
Quote:
It was only until after Uber that the local Gold Coast booking system developed apps for booking.  You still can't pay via the app and literally, the first iteration of the app was a "Book Now" button which triggered your phone to call the booking number.


I can't speak for the Gold Coast.  I can for the Sunshine Coast and I'd be quite surprised if we led the way, and that Brisbane and the Gold Coast did not have what we had....way before Uber turned up.

We had an app which did everything the Uber app did, except we did not ask for or trap your credit card details.   That would have been wisely cautionary on our part.

I do not want to have your credit card stuff, and I certainly would never hand 'Uber,' an outlaw, my credit card details.

What is left of a perfectly functioning taxi industry (Government requirements ~ 'minimal service levels' were routinely met) before Government was left shell shocked by a cashed up Outlaw arriving and taking over is yet to be seen.

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