Sunday, April 14, 2013

(Related Update): Uber hero

Related Update:  Business hero and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced this past Friday that Uber was rolling out their latest product in personal transportation, Uber X Rideshare.  From an article at Huffington Post (HT: Mark Perry):
But that history did not stop Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick from announcing plans Friday to expand into another business that's been facing even more regulatory scrutiny: dispatching cars owned and operated by common citizens.  With the new service, called UberX Rideshare, four-year old Uber would begin to directly compete with popular startups like Lyft and Sidecar, which have proliferated across U.S. cities over the past 12 months while skirting more rules, some regulators say, than Uber itself.
See the article here.

Original Post:  Uber is an on-demand personal transportation service with a twist: think high-end taxi service that use town cars and limos instead of cabs.  Based in San Fransisco and with an international presence in less than 3 years, its been hugely successful.  Consumers love it, but competitors don't, of course.  So what's a competitor to do?  Get the government to help attack, regulate, harass, and otherwise single out Uber for elimination.  But so far Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has managed to grow his company in spite of such opposition.  His story is a fascinating tail of perserverance, self-belief, and a willingness to ignore immoral governmental dictates.  In this excerpt, Kalanick is referring to their efforts to crack the D.C. market:
In July, the city tried to change the law—with what were actually called Uber Amendments—to set a floor on the company's rates at five times those charged by taxis. "The rationale, in the frickin' amendment, you can look it up, said 'We need to keep the town-car business from competing with the taxi industry,' " Mr. Kalanick says. "It's anticompetitive behavior. If a CEO did that kind of stuff—you'd be in jail."
This is a terrific expose and I highly recommend you read it.