Tag Archives: Uber

Dec. 15, 2019 Blumbers

Teen Decade: Gig Economics

Most people can see growing inequality right in front of them. Everybody may have a job, or several jobs, but they are underpaid. The gig economy businesses that survive do so on the margins. AirBnB survives because people cannot afford a hotel room. Uber survives because people cannot afford a car. There are also very good reasons to regulate economic activity. There is a reason you want a licensed cab driver. There is a reason you want to stay at a licensed hotel. Insurance and inspections are good if there is an accident or fire. If your business model cannot afford theses precautions then you should work toward creating a society where you can. 

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 15, 2017 The New Yorker

On May 15, 2017 The New Yorker’s Sheelah Kolkatkar wrote “Stickler Status” about the thankless job of compliance officers in financial institutions. It is a bad career choice. Even if they do everything right they could still wind up in jail.

Nicola Twilley wrote “Sight Unseen” about sensory substitution technology that allows people to see with their tongue.

Nathan Heller wrote “The Gig Is Up” about the sharing economy and companies like Uber. One worker named Seth said “These are jobs that don’t lead to anything.” Safety nets are needed to protect workers between gigs.

Adam Gopnik wrote “We Could Have All Been Canadians” about what the world would have been like without the American Revolution.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 3, 2017 Self Driving Car Insurance

On Apr. 3, 2017 NPR’s Yuki Noguchi wrote “Self-Driving Cars Raise Questions About Who Carries Insurance” Every auto insurance company will be affected by self driving cars. “Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns the insurance giant Geico, told CNBC in a February interview: “If the day comes when a significant portion of the cars on the road are autonomous, it will hurt Geico’s business very significantly.”

If current inequality trends continue, most people will be too poor to own a car.  If they need transportation they will use Uber or Lyft. They might use a traditional taxicab or car rental company that has survived the transition. Car manufacturers might even offer their cars directly. In any case, consumers will not be paying directly for insurance. If a car has an accident it will not be the passenger’s fault.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All Rights reserved.

Feb. 26, 2017 Blumbers

Uber Fowler

On. Feb 19, 2017 Susan J. Fowler recounted her experiences working at Uber. I recommend you read it here. While Fowler described her experiences as strange, I do not. Sadly, many workplaces have internal politics like Game of Thrones. A hostile environment geared toward short term gain is every where. If corporate culture is hard to change, a monoculture is nearly impossible. The solution seems to be to vote with your feet. Qualified professionals should keep moving until they find something better. Recruiters should recognize and take a chance on those candidates who did not settle for hostile incompetence.

There is an astounding lack of courage in Silicon Valley when it comes to hiring older women with technical skills. I am beginning to wonder if the fact that ninety percent of startups fail is because ninety percent of their staff are male. Company staff that resemble society in general, tend to succeed in the long run.

So if you are a high tech employer and see a candidate who has worked at several different companies, it might be they want something better and are looking at you. Be that better company and hire that better person.

Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 19, 2014 Uber Emil Michael And Sarah Lacy PandoDaily

Buzzfeed journalist Ben Smith reported that a senior executive at Uber, Emil Michael made several statements regarding the press and in particular Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily. Here are two excerpts:

“Over dinner, he outlined the notion of spending “a million dollars” to hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists. That team could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press — they’d look into “your personal lives, your families,” and give the media a taste of its own medicine.”

“At the Waverly Inn dinner, it was suggested that a plan like the one Michael floated could become a problem for Uber.

Michael responded: “Nobody would know it was us.”

Close quote.

None of this surprises me. It is a sign of how bad things are these days. Large amounts of money are not only distorting the political process but the free press that protects it. The sad part is there are struggling journalists out there who might just do such a thing to another journalist. Do the math, if you hire eight people to destroy someone, it comes out to $125,000 per person. That is a lot of silver.

I have to question the logic of such an attack. If your company is doing something wrong and the press brings attention to it, why not fix the problem? After all, if you have a million dollars to do something destructive, why not spend it doing something constructive? You get good publicity when you do something good.

People are always trying to control journalists. They inevitably fail because there is always another journalist out there asking lots of questions. It is what journalists do. We pepper people with questions to try to bring things to light for the public good.

Here is a good test of whether an organization understands a free press. Can I attend their event or press conference? If not, then they are hiding something, and it probably is not good. If I ask direct questions and cannot get straight answers, then the public will know something is up. The public will have the facts and make up their own minds.

Journalists all over the world are fighting for your right to know. In some countries they are beheaded. In others, they are imprisoned. In America, their reputations and personal lives are attacked. So if you see a journalist being attacked, it might be a situation like the one with Uber. Take whatever you see or hear with a grain of salt. The journalist was doing what they were supposed to do…and somebody else was not.

Copyright 2014 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Oct. 7, 2013 Fortune

On Oct. 7, 2013 Fortune magazines’s Michal Lev-Ram wrote “The Pride Of St. Louis” about Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s life in St. Louis and San Francisco. Dorsey is developing a small device that plugs into a smartphone called Square. It helps small businesses conduct transactions in person and online. Dorsey said “We fundamentally believe that the power of the local economy will help fix the national economy and potentially the global economy.”

Jessi Hempel wrote “Hey Taxi Company, You Talkin’ to Me?” about Travis Kalanick and his company Uber that competes with traditional cab companies.

Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 16, 2013 The New Yorker

On Sep. 16, 2013 The New Yorker‘s James Surowiecki wrote “Uber Alles”about the hype surrounding the sharing economy. Millennials are so mired in student debt they will never be able to have a middle class lifestyle of owning cars or houses. The response has been Uber and Airbnb, where companies supply a service and you get no money or benefits in your struggle to stay alive. This is not sustainable. Real jobs and real pay lead to real growth.

Andrew Marantz wrote “Unreality Star” about people who think they are in their own “Truman Show”. Maybe they are being watched right now. :-)

Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.