As Uber's stock craters amid billions in unanticipated losses, a hiring freeze on engineers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/13/sic-semper-uber.html

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No surprise there to be honest. I still can’t imagine who thought this was a viable business model.

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Travis Kalanick and his fellow Ayn Rand quoting business geniuses.

There’s a reason why I’m wary of giving any company founder who spouts Objectivist dogma direct responsibility over finance.

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I’ve never seen an Randite business that ever worked on the large scale. I did have a medical provider back home in Wichita that was a Randite but oddly he seem to be fine with doing very anti-Randite things like selling medicines at or near cost.

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Are you suggesting that a company who is going under should continue to interview and hire people? Kind of not sure what the position is here.

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It’s just being offered as more proof that company is in deep trouble and knows it, despite all its bluster.

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Ah. Well…I agree they are in deep trouble because of their financials, and the reality is no corporation, regardless of financial state, is ever going to say “OMG WE ARE SO SCREWED” … so we are really in normative behavior here.

This just seems like its “kicking them while they are down” - ism.

Has anyone done any analysis of what comes after the business model crumbles and we can no longer schedule heavily subsidized rides from our phones? Do they just try to make a go of it at prices reflecting the actual costs involved? I can’t imagine many folks will be pleased when their ride that used to cost $11 now costs $20. Do taxis get market share back? Does another company step in and pretend that it has the numbers figured out and raise a couple billion in venture capital?

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The trouble goes deeper than the financials. The business model is fundamentally flawed and the reforms to the corporate culture have made it merely nauseously Libertarian instead of poisonously Objectivist. If the company seems to be getting a disproportionate amount of hate it’s because it went out of its way to earn it.

Willful ignorance of basic economic behaviour, denial of the existence of society, greed as a virtue, techno-utopianism, and utter contempt for both employees and customers who don’t meet the founders’ standards of greatness isn’t exactly a winning formula for a sustainable business.

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I’d love to see how the company was presented to investors during the past few rounds. Did they actually see a path to profitability? Lots of people like to say they were banking on self-driving cars, but even that wouldn’t have been enough. Uber Eats was a pretty good idea, but delivering every restaurant meal they could wouldn’t have been enough to back the company’s valuation.

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Hope that your city or county hasn’t turned over or abandoned its public transit infrastructure to ride-sharing companies, for one thing.

But yeah, they only way these companies will be sustainable is if they stop subsidising rides with shareholder money. The self-driving cars are not going to arrive in time to save them.

Probably. I do hope that the one good thing that Uber has done in regard to taxis – destroying the sclerotic medallion monopolies – persists. Ideally, in that space we’ll see more driver-owned co-ops using open-source dispatching and payment apps.

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They had a 1,200 strong marketing department – now reduced by a third. Does any company need a marketing department that size?

btw they quietly shed the unfortunate marketeers at the same time they unveiled sponsorship of the Cricket World Cup.

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Perhaps the marketing of the product is the product

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I have used Uber in the past. Just like I have used products and services of other companies who are generally hated at one point or another for this, that, and the other thing (Apple, Microsoft, any and all car makers, Tyson, Purdue, the list goes on and on of “hated” corporations because they had the audacity to put profits ahead of [insert altruistic thing here]).

Meh. Expecting a corporation to “do the right thing” all the time is just ridiculous in my book. And then gleefully watching them collapse and pointing and laughing doesn’t put anyone on any higher ground in my book.

I just don’t care (to @Papasan 's point). Companies rise, they fall. They do good things, they do bad. Whatever, next product and service up for me to use.

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This, this this. I actually like the convenience of Lyft and Uber. I will continue to use them as cheap taxis until they inevitably go bankrupt, then I have to pay some dude with a medallion $10 more for a lift again.

Self driving Ubers. Ha.

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Full disclosure: I regularly use Lyft when public transit isn’t available or can’t do the job. It has its own issues (as you say, no company is perfect) and I know using it isn’t an indication of sainthood, but its business practises are better than Uber’s. Given the choices out there, there’s nothing wrong with a consumer in a capitalist society drawing the lines where he can. In addition to not using Uber, I don’t patronise Chick-Fil-A or watch Fox News (or CNN for that matter) because all of them put profits ahead of the altruistic thing known as human decency.

I don’t expect that. I do expect a company not to willfully do the wrong and crappy and unsustainable thing all the time, which Uber has been prone to do.

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It’s the increase in congestion and pollution, the exploitation of drivers, and the cannibalization of transit services that are most egregious aspects of this failing business model. That the rubes that bought into the IPO will lose all their money is a feature, not a bug, with respect to this disaster,

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Unanticipated by whom?

Shocked! Shocked! that pleasing us is not the primary goal of capitalism

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