An insiders PoV at Uber.

Jul 24, 2017 5 Comments

I've seen a flurry of posts recently which outline the decline of quality with regard to Uber and ride sharing in general.

I wanted to drop a post here just to be heard.
Let's begin:

Uber simply does not care about the quality control aspect of the experience anymore, they understand how the wheel they've created is intended to maximize revenue and minimize liabilities by churning over new drivers alone.

The stark reality of this business model is that ANYONE can become a driver for Uber, (regardless of quality, so long as they pass a mandatory background check required by law). This opens the floodgates to an untapped and monstrous market of CHEAP human labor.

This cannot be argued, as I have seen it happen firsthand... Uber would rather onboard a known "low quality" driver simply to profit from the upfront Booking Fees, etc than to properly vet and train the driver in any capacity.

Unless a Greenlight Hub is operating within a market that enforces laws requiring vehicle inspections to be performed upfront, anyone can sign up with any junker or piece of shit car and theoretically perform a minimum of 5-10 rides without being "caught" or waitlisted by support.

In markets where this type of regulation is required but not mandatory upfront, Uber takes advantage by allowing drivers to perform fares within a 30 day "grace period" BEFORE they are required to consent to a basic 21-point vehicle inspection.

They intentionally target these new drivers through alloy cards in the app, text messages, and use promotions like boost to get them on the road immediately and complete as many trips as humanly possible within the FIRST 30 days of being activated.
This is purely strategic. Evil genius.

The moment you're activated as a new driver, the clock starts. They NEED those drivers to knock out as many trips as possible before an incident is reported or the 30 day grace period expires and the vehicle becomes ineligible for operation.

I cannot begin tell you how many vehicles have failed the inspection once the 30 day grace period has ended. It's staggering. In my market alone, nearly 30% of the vehicles we would onboard in one quarter could not pass the inspection when the time came for them to see an ASE mechanic.

I have literally seen cars with garbage bags taped over the windows driving for Uber. It happens because they don't perform quality checks on drivers or the vehicles they use until an issue is raised by a rider or multiple riders at different dates/times.

This is also why Uber has no trouble with severing partnership ties with veteran drivers who have amassed thousands of trips and earned them a profit. They understand the nature of their business model and cyclic trends which keep it flourishing year round in each market where they offer any sort of service.

At its core, Uber is the worlds most powerful marketing firm. You can argue that Google or Facebook are more powerful, and although monetarily speaking, you'd be correct; I would kindly point out that Google and Facebook earn their profits from people simply clicking or tapping on ads/sponsored content, whereas Uber is ACTUALLY getting people up and into their cars for the sake of performing a paid task.

That's why their front-end image is "logistics" and "we move people", "we move cities", etc.
It's a cute little mantra for the public eye to distract us from the fact that this entire company is not ethical, profitable, or even cares about the quality of service offered.

You're nothing more than a number to a data driven company that's never been profitable, and never will be profitable.

The drivers, the riders, the corporate employees, everyone. You're nothing.
We're just numbers on a spreadsheet.

This company is simply doing all that it can right now to course correct its image in the public eye before its IPO.

Even after an IPO, Uber will not be profitable. Not now. Not ever. But the IPO must and will happen. We all know this. But why?

Ride-share in general was an interesting concept at first. It was even praised by the public in the beginning stages because the money was essentially "staying amongst the people", the drivers and riders. I encourage you to Google articles on Uber from the early stages. Nothing but positive press back then.

Fast forward to present day, nothing but negative press and scandals.
So what happened?

Ultimately, Uber became the undisputed king of the ride-share market when they secured an investment from Saudi Arabia in the amount of $3,500,000,000

I wrote this number at length instead of typing a casual figure of $3.5B because I want you to visualize it for what it's worth at face value. Again, $3,500,000,000

This investment came at a detrimental time.

Essentially, this is Uber's on hand pool of cash used to operate the entire company in markets worldwide. A staggering $3,500,000,000!

To be clear, Uber was dominant over Lyft and all other companies in the ride-share space long before the investment of $3,500,000,000 from Saudi Arabia, but once the deal was financed and finalized, it was "off to the races" for Uber.

To repay this truly seismic sum of cash, Uber had to revamp everything systematically; but it was easy for them to do with a few policy adjustments, tweaking of rates, and eliminating barriers to entry for even more new drivers to start on the platform.

If you managed to read this far, to the end of the post, I'll summarize everything for you like this:

Q: Why is Uber so shit now?

A: The quality went to shit because it's all a numbers game now and nothing more.


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TOP 5 Comments
  • New / Mgmt

    New Mgmt

    Facebook, Google
    "Facebook will die by 2012"
    Jul 24, 2017 0
  • Uber / Eng bag
    haven't read the whole thing but for all companies customers are after all a number.
    Uber's service is good or else nobody will be using it! quality of service is part of the business.
    The crowdsourcing model of ratings works pretty well in practice. The bad drivers and riders will get identified pretty quickly.
    Uber provides literally millions of drivers a platform for earning money flexibly. For ex it has benefited developing countries like Brazil, Mexico crazily..gave many jobs in times of recession.

    a couple days ago I got a deaf driver. I was happy to see uber provide a platform for a disabled person to respectfully earn money!
    Jul 24, 2017 1
    • New / Product

      New Product

      I'm an executive editor for a book publishing company and serve as PM for their projects branching into edtech. Yay education.
      aren't you concerned by this post's descriptions of abuse of their drivers?
      Jul 28, 2017
  • Intuit smNe74
    Sample bias, but I have yet to observe any quality changes in my multiple years of using the app. I hate to defend Uber here, because I'm not really a fan, but factually wrong, in my observation, to say quality has declined.
    Jul 24, 2017 0
  • WCI Education / Mktg VcXY72
    Thank you for sharing your insight. Do you happen to know what percent of income uber pool generates for uber?
    Aug 15, 2017 0


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