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Uber's Most Important Asset-People

Uber, the ridesharing service has been making a ton of mistakes, but the biggest one is ignoring the most important asset they have. People.

Recently they announced a deal with Cargo, to put snacks and other products on sale inside their drivers cars. There's only one problem with that. They never told the drivers. In three cities I've had Uber rides in since the announcement, not one driver has been told about the new way for them to make money, nor do they even know what a Greenlight Hub is. This tells me either the program is a test program (and being overhyped) or that communication to the field is worse than ever. For years drivers have complained how they're not spoken with, and that everything they ask is handled by email. One driver lamented that when he bought a new car to drive it took months to update his profile, causing riders to not be able to find his car.

Down under in Australia, the drivers took to what is effectively a walkout, protesting upfront pricing and other working conditions. From a consumer's perspective upfront pricing is great, but from a driver's perspective, traffic jams and other unforeseen trip extenders eat into their revenue, so they have a point. Given taxis charge time and distance, the Uber rider trapped in a traffic jam is only charged distance based fares. This issue is compounded by the variations of offerings that Uber has by market, based on what's permitted. 

Over in Spain Uber (and Cabify) is going to feel the pressure of the government, which has sided with the taxi drivers to limit the number of ridesharing drivers there are out on the road to a 30:1 ratio of taxi's to Ubers. This effectively limits the growth of ride-sharing and creates more demand than there is supply to fill. By not effectively working with the Spanish government, Uber has negatively impacted both driver and rider near term and possibly longer.

Uber needs to think long and hard about their customers and their drivers as the their technology can only take them so far, before it takes the entire business for a ride.




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