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Blake Dowling: Uber’s bumpy road to disruption

The adaptation of the app came so fast that everyone had a tough time keeping up.

Uber has 100,000 drivers in Florida and 75 million riders around the world.

More important than this massive success, Uber has done the impossible in marketing.

They have become a noun or verb. Just like Google and Kleenex, the name of the company means that thing. Like, “I will get an Uber” (any car service), “I will Google it” (search online), or “get me a Kleenex” (tissue). They have done this in just 10 years.

You can see a list of the super-elite firms that have also accomplished this.

The journey hasn’t been without issues for the company. In fact, it has been a bumpy ride for the company (pun alert). Still, such is the nature of disrupting the entire transportation sector, plus rider safety concerns, as well as regulations from our government friends.

The adaptation of the app came so fast that everyone had a tough time keeping up.

You can follow their timeline here from Day One to raising another $8 billion of investment this summer.

As an Uber driver, you could see an average of about $10 an hour. Indeed, it’s not the $90,000 a year that Uber claimed a few years ago. That got them a nice lawsuit.

As far as pricing for the passenger, you are looking at $1-$2 per mile; most treks have been nicer than your average taxi. Uber has changed the game for most Americans, from those needing a ride to the gym and for illegal use selling drugs.

Criminals always seem to be early adopters of new tech.

I personally have enjoyed the platform very much. It works; it gets you from A to B very quickly.

My first experience with the app was getting from the hotel in Gainesville to football game tailgates — about five years ago. I have been using it ever since.

In fact, technology has changed the entire football experience. We stay at Airbnb’s, use Uber for transport, use the Cost Split app for dividing expenses, and Grub for ordering food.

Thanks to technology, it literally becomes a whole different experience than when my group of old fraternity brothers first got season tickets together 10 years ago.

Thank you, Uber, for getting us to the tailgate.

Back to Uber.

So, after taking over the world (and becoming a household name in the process), there is one tiny problem with the company.

According to most experts, the company does not appear to make any money. CNBC reported the company had $3 billion in losses in 2018, with $4 billion the year before.

There are thoughts and comments everywhere that — eventually — through advertising on the app, offering other services or through its own self-driving cars, the company will start turning a profit.

I don’t know where the company is headed.

Hopefully, they figure it out, as they have become a part of our culture, and they provide a service I enjoy. In the meantime, look for another hefty round of fundraising soon to … keep the wheels turning (so many puns, so little time).

If you want to take a deep dive into the economics of Uber (and have a lot of time on your hands), try this 20-part series.

Thanks for reading, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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