Uber projected $8b in losses for 2019, but it just booked $5.2b in losses in a single quarter

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/09/schadenscooters.html

It’s not just Uber that’s a lie. It’s the stock market as a whole. At this point it’s probably the economy as a whole. Including the cake.


Uber says it can be profitable someday: all it needs to do is … $12t in annual revenue

In Q2, Uber booked $867m in revenue, which is a lot of money (72% more than the year before!)

Just $11,999,133,000,000 more in revenue to go!


What I always want to know is, where the fuck is all this money going?

The ride-share companies are nickel-and-dining their drivers to push as many of the costs and risks as possible onto them. And while Uber rides are certainly convenient, they aren’t always exactly cheap.

It turns out that their big costs seem to be ‘sales and marketing’, and ‘general and admin’. I don’t know what they’re getting for their $735M in ‘sales and marketing’, but with that amount of money they could probably have someone knock on every door in the United States and perform a 5-minute interpretive dance about the merits of Uber.


It is called a taxi.


Aye, I often wonder why we treat stock markets as some bellwether, when in reality they are upper scale gambling casinos where the regulars fleece the rubes.


That is what is making Uber an also-ran in Europe: many taxi companies got wise, and joined app makers.


I still don’t understand how they can’t turn a profit. What on the back end is sucking up all their coin? They don’t pay the drivers that well. I realize servers and software and the people and maintenance to keep them going all cost money, but still.

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I’d love to see that. But I’d probably get bored after ~2 minutes. Now where’s my Lyft dance?


Uber’s financial statements should probably just be:
“Meet the new loss, same as the old loss…”

It’d save everyone time.


There was a time when stock market prices were based on the current, time-discounted value of estimated future profits. And those profits were either returned as dividends or re-invested in the company resulting in higher future profits. And so stock market prices represented a broad consensus, by people voting with their own money, on the future performance of the economy.

Those days are LONG gone. Now the prices are mostly speculative and based on future stock market prices. And those in turn are based more on the cost of borrowing money to invest than upon future profits.


Yeah, I don’t use Uber for obvious ethical reasons - but when travelling to Manchester for business I was pleasantly surprised to find that both the local taxi companies I used had apps. I could find out how long I’d have to wait for a cab right now, I could make advance bookings, and got notifications when a cab was assigned to my journey and could track it on a map.

So I could support longer-standing local businesses, and yet had no real loss of convenience. I may not like Uber, but they have made the competition up their game!


Executive bonuses.


Sherman says Uber and Lyft don’t get any runoff benefits. They can’t tax the bars and nightclubs that stay open until 2AM because they know Uber and Lyft will safely transport their passengers home. They can’t exploit the positive externalities of their business, but are held liable for the negative ones, like increasing traffic congestion or the creation of an underclass of freelancer drivers who are paid inadequately and lack safety nets.

[emphasis mine]

In what sense exactly are rideshare companies being held liable for the negative externalities they generate? Because more of that, please.




Is that a cake mimic???


Yeah I’m fuzzy about it all too… I think there is some accounting shenanigans going on at companies like this. What expenses they put into what column is all a big game…

(Forgive if the following is super basic - I’m really talking to myself here)

From what I’ve read elsewhere Uber’s fares are too low to both pay the drivers a reasonable wage and make a profit, but they will lose customers if they raise their fares… They have to keep a ton of drivers running at all times so they can provide a reliable, always-on service, so they can’t cut drivers’ fees further, otherwise they’d stop driving… These things are all interrelated… Gotta keep it cheap or people wont ride, but gotta pay the drivers else they wont drive…

So Uber is essentially subsidizing every ride to keep the riders riding, paying the drivers more than profitability would allow given the absurdly low fare. Yet the wages are so shitty they have to constantly add new drivers (most last less than a year IIRC), so they are spending a TON of cash on recruiting and other associated admin costs. I’m guessing this is a big part of why their revenue is so high but they’re still burning cash.

If they raised the prices to a level of profitability-per-ride, they would have fewer riders, fewer riders would mean fewer drivers (since they can’t get a fare), and then the “on-demand” aspect of the service vanishes, and it’s just another taxi… There’s a reason why Taxi’s cost almost double an Uber ride, and it’s not (all) corruption.


“Why all the weapons?” asked the baker.

Mimics,” we said.

The baker laughed.

We laughed.

The cake laughed.

We slaughtered the cake. It was a good time.

PS: This is me pinching a popular D&D meme.


I think I’d enjoy that.

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…Which is the problem with taking the silicon valley “Once we have market domination, we can raise prices and become profitable,” model into the world of providing actualy goods and services. Rides don’t scale loke software. You have to pay all of the drivers.