Excellent, deep series on Uber's Ponzi-scheme economics

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/07/excellent-deep-series-on-uber.html

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…drivers can’t do anything about pay cuts because they’ve locked themselves into car payments.

Makes sense, if the only alternative is quit Uber and play COD all day. But for some drivers, a better job may be waiting. I’ll never understand people who quit without a Plan B, but I’ve known a few.


small scale incumbents with no access to capital struggling to cover their bear bone costs

See, this is why the industry is ripe for disruption. If your payroll is based on Ursidae skeletons, you’re going to have some problems.


This was an excellent read. I’ve always been under the impression that Uber’s only innovation was avoiding regulation (their technology is a cork board with some 21st century updates). Not being a big car person (or “real world” person) I hadn’t thought very much about how difficult it is to do better than taxi’s at driving people from place to place even with massive capital to invest.

In the end, the number one cost is the cars, and Uber has no way of reducing that cost. It’s a very simply insight, but it means a lot.

Anyway, it’s all a good news story. The goal of Uber is to drive competitors out of business so they can utilize monopoly powers. If the business one day suddenly folds up and the owners walk away with a bunch of money, that will be quite a con with real world losses that result. But it will be better than the alternative.


Seeing as I’ve always been dubious of the self-driving car hype, I was pleased to discover that Naked Capitalism also did a post exposing just how incredibly overblown (or maybe self-deluded) the Silicon Valley hype over autonomous vehicles is.

It’s one thing to casually think “Google can’t even deliver ads that are genuinely relevant to me, and they think they can replace human drivers on the road? something’s not right here.” It’s another to see that numerous experts without a stake in trying to sell something are equally dubious.


I do the Uber/Lyft thing as a side gig and I can’t imagine doing it full time. The cost of driving the car at least 6 days a week, not to mention car payments and insurance just to make any money would suck. I’m sure some people do really well at it, but for most of the drivers, it’s hard to make a living from it.

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If Uber has to do whatever it takes to ignore local regulations, laws, etc to operate then why stop just there? They could look to ways to reduce car ownership and usage costs: they could start to really disrupt more regulations and laws and start having their contract staff breaking into cars and using them illegally for uber shifts.Free market is good, money is good; government regulations and restrictions baaaaad.

Airbnb can also copy this idea: break into homes and rent them out.

Uber could then start to target remaining costs with economic slave labour to push down staff/time costs, buy out government bodies and dismantle any threat to their business… I am joking but that is starting to sound like what they are doing already.


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