Uber and Lyft

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pages: 343 words: 91,080

Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work by Alex Rosenblat

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, call centre, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Chrome, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, job automation, job satisfaction, Lyft, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social software, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, urban planning, Wolfgang Streeck, Zipcar

It’s no wonder that any number of Uber stakeholders might feel uneasy in their alliances with the company. After Uber and Lyft left Austin in 2016, I flew there to find out how drivers felt about being left behind. As I reported for Motherboard while conducting some of my fieldwork in spring 2016,33 Karl, a former Uber and Lyft driver, said, “They claim that it was because the background checks . . . would take too long and so on, but there is a time frame from now to February 2017 for that, so they had a lot of time to do all the background checks.” He signed up to work for GetMe, a local ridehail start-up, so he could keep working. “They [Uber and Lyft] didn’t need to shut down and leave the city like they did.” Thomas, a former driver for Uber and Lyft, said he believed both companies took a stand against fingerprints because of high driver-turnover rates.

Driving for Uber has benefits as well as disadvantages. Michael drives for both Uber and Lyft. To do so, he commutes into Atlanta from Marietta, about an hour away. When I interview him on a mild afternoon in spring 2017, he gestures toward the main highway that runs through the city center, which has collapsed, supposedly because homeless kids set fire to it but possibly because of corruption, according to Michael. The collapse added traffic to the streets, which now slows him down as he ferries passengers around. He started about two months earlier, and this week he’s driven every day except for Tuesday. Because he is a divorced dad, flexibility at work is important to him, because it enables him to see his younger children. Similarly, mothers of young children who drive for Uber and Lyft have told me they appreciate their ability to work in their spare hours without killing themselves to arrange childcare during an obligatory shift at Walmart or a similar retail outlet.

For example, an analysis by Jonathan Hall, chief economist at Uber, and Princeton economist Alan Krueger published in 2015 found that 51 percent of Uber drivers work one to fifteen hours per week, and 30 percent work sixteen to thirty-four hours per week—while 12 percent work thirty-five to forty-nine hours per week, and 7 percent work fifty hours or more per week.5 According to Lyft, 78 percent of their drivers in 2015 worked one to fifteen hours per week, and 86 percent of their drivers were either employed full time elsewhere or seeking full-time employment.6 Across the United States and Europe, other reports have found that independent workers don’t rely on platforms like Uber as their primary sources of income.7 The platform model of gig work comes with high attrition rates for workers, though—one in six online-platform workers is new in any given month, and more than half of participants quit within a year.8 The ridehail model is geared to part-time work, according to later reports by Uber and Lyft as well. For example, Lyft surveyed 37,000 drivers and 30,000 passengers in fifty-two major cities. Its results, published in a 2018 report, state that on the national level in the United States, 93 percent of its drivers drive fewer than twenty hours per week, and 93 percent are employed, seeking employment, full-time students, or retired.9 In February 2018, Uber published a blog post stating that “nearly 60% of U.S. drivers use Uber less than 10 hours a week.”10 Uber confirmed in an email to me that the latter statistic accounted for drivers who drove fewer than ten hours a week in a typical workweek over the previous three months, according to data scientists on Uber’s policy team.11 However, the Uber and Lyft reports on how much drivers work for either company tell only part of the story: a typical driver I met in New York City worked full time for multiple apps (often two to three), such as some combination of Uber, Lyft, Juno, Via, and Gett.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Here’s a possible business model map for Uber or Lyft like the one Dan and Meredith Beam drew for Southwest Airlines. What are some of the core elements of this business model? Replacing Ownership with Access. In the long run, Uber and Lyft are not competing with taxicab companies, but with car ownership. After all, if you can summon a car and driver at low cost via the touch of a button on your phone, why should you bother owning one at all, especially if you live in the city? Uber and Lyft do for car ownership what music services like Spotify did for music CDs, and Netflix and Amazon Prime did for DVDs. They are replacing ownership with access. “I tell people I live in LA like it’s New York. Uber and Lyft are my public transit station,” said one customer in Los Angeles. Uber and Lyft also replace ownership with access for the companies themselves. Drivers provide their own cars, earning additional income from a resource they have already paid for that is often idle, or allowing them to help pay for a resource that they are then able to use in other parts of their lives.

Unlike the taxi industry, which creates an artificial scarcity by issuing a limited number of “medallions,” Uber and Lyft use market mechanisms to find the optimum number of drivers, with an algorithm that raises prices if there are not enough drivers on the road in a particular location or at a particular time. While customers initially complained, using market forces to balance the competing desires of buyers and sellers has helped Uber and Lyft to achieve an equilibrium of supply and demand in close to real time. There are other signals in addition to surge pricing that Uber and Lyft use to tell drivers that more (or fewer) of them are needed. Incentives to drivers, especially when entering new cities, has been one reason why Uber and Lyft have had to spend so much money to enter new markets. There are those who equate this behavior to dumping—selling goods and services below cost in order to dominate the market and drive out other sellers, only to raise prices once a monopoly position is earned.

Drivers provide their own cars, earning additional income from a resource they have already paid for that is often idle, or allowing them to help pay for a resource that they are then able to use in other parts of their lives. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft avoid the capital expense of owning their own fleets of cars. Passengers Who Expect Transportation On Demand. Much as Michael Schrage outlined in Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?, Uber and Lyft are asking their consumers to become the kind of people who expect a car to be available as easily as they had previously come to expect access to online content. They are asking them to redraw their map of how the world works. Uber and Lyft recognized early on that many young urban professionals had already given up on owning a car, but for their business to spread beyond major urban centers and wealthy demographics, they would need more people to accept this premise and make the switch.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Uber is still privately owned at the time of writing, but the investments correspond to a market capitalization of $50 billion: more valuable than the three leading car rental companies (Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise) combined, and about two-thirds the value of Ford Motor Company. Uber is ambitious: it has explored many variants on its driving services from carpooling to high-end luxury services, as well as delivery and ­logistics, but for now UberX makes up the bulk of its business. It makes sense to talk of Uber and Lyft in the same breath, despite their different images, because they have ended up offering essentially the same service. When, after a campaign by Peers and others, California became the first state to create a separate set of rules for what it called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), Uber and Lyft were the main beneficiaries.21 The TNC framework has since been adopted by Colorado, as well as Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin, Houston, and Washington. While there are differences,22 the basic principles are the same: the companies “provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform (such as smart phone apps) to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers.” 23 The companies compete against each other for drivers, and some drivers drive for both platforms, keeping both companies’ apps in their car.

Second, Uber requires drivers to accept 90% of all rides that are sent their way, on pain of being removed from the service, so rejecting a potential ride comes at a cost. Racism manifests itself differently in different environments, and the better experience of black customers is an unintended side-effect of Uber’s system. Uber drivers are not told where to drive, so they may avoid what they consider as “sketchy” parts of town, and both Uber and Lyft have been accused of “redlining”: not providing services to poor and minority neighborhoods.68 Numerous comments on social media suggest that one of the appeals of Uber and Lyft to young and well-off early adopters was that the drivers matched their age, educational-level, and social background more than did taxi drivers. Instead of being driven by a middle-aged immigrant man who had 60 hours on the clock that week, you could be picked up by “a friend with a car,” more likely to be female, more likely to be well educated, and more likely to be white.69 As the companies have expanded, however, the driver population more closely matches taxi drivers and this opportunity to discriminate has faded.

But what comes out of this is that the real story is a long way from $90,000, even though that number is still out there (Guendelsberger refers to “that $90,000 a year figure that so many passengers asked about”). Uber drivers appear to take home about the same as a taxi driver once expenses are figured in, while Uber itself has stepped in and takes as much of the fare as do medallion holders. One of the complaints that taxi companies have against Uber and Lyft is that they are subject to different standards, and that the taxi standards are more onerous than those that the ridesharing companies have to follow. Uber maintains that its drivers are subject to a thorough screening process, but a series of assaults on the service has put this largely automated process under scrutiny. It has not held up well. Most dramatically, The Guardian worked with a whistleblower who applied for work as a driver with Uber UK.


pages: 289

Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy by Alexandrea J. Ravenelle

"side hustle", active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, Broken windows theory, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Howard Zinn, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, low skilled workers, Lyft, minimum wage unemployment, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, precariat, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, very high income, white flight, working poor, Zipcar

In Sarah’s experience, TaskRabbit’s algorithm highlights people with high acceptance rates or high availability. “They want you on call for free,” she said, before describing her schedule instability as “frustrating. . . . [Y]ou are always thinking, ‘Oh, in five months I am going to be [sleeping] on a bench somewhere.’” Baran, twenty-eight, is a college student at a local university who drives for Uber and Lyft. In New York, app-based drivers have the same insurance and licensing requirements as taxi drivers, a cost that usually runs several thousand dollars. To sidestep this considerable start-up expense and the associated annual costs, some drivers rent a licensed, insured, and Uber-approved car through local services or utilize Uber’s fleet-owner and driver matching service. Baran rents such a car for four hundred dollars a week.

The first of these is, of course, sharing. Although early sites such as couchsurfing.com and ShareSomeSugar.com didn’t charge fees, most current “sharing economy” sites do charge them. An Airbnb host isn’t so much “sharing” her home or “hosting guests” as she is renting her home out. TaskRabbit assistants and Kitchensurfing chefs aren’t “sharing” their services but being paid. Likewise, even though Uber and Lyft describe themselves as “ride-sharing,” charging for private vehicle transportation is simply a taxi or chauffer service by any other name. While Lyft (slogan: “Your friend with a car”) originally encouraged riders to “sit in the front seat like a friend, rather than in the backseat like a fare,” such “friendship” didn’t eliminate the need to pay the fare.12 The reinvention of terms isn’t limited to the companies themselves but can also carry over into descriptions of the services by researchers.

Be your own boss and get paid in fares for driving on your own schedule.” Screenshot by author. Approximately half of the Uber drivers I interviewed were immigrants. An equal number of drivers identified as white (21 percent) and black (21 percent), while 14 percent described themselves as Hispanic and one driver was racially mixed.85 In the same way that a high percentage of cab drivers in New York are male (estimates range from 90 to 97 percent), all Uber and Lyft participants were male. Their ages ranged from twenty-two to fifty-nine, with 60 percent falling between twenty and thirty-nine years of age; the average age was thirty-six. Of those who answered education questions, 50 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree. Two participants listed their educational level as “some college,” one individual was currently enrolled in a local college, one had an associate’s degree, and one had a GED.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

additive manufacturing, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Zipcar

That’s what I think is going to happen with hotels. I’m pretty close with some hotel executives; they don’t seem to be overly concerned.” Indeed, as Alison Griswold from Slate magazine documents, the hotel industry in 2014–15 enjoyed their highest-ever levels of occupancy and average daily room prices.29 The same is not true of Uber and Lyft’s impact on traditional taxicabs. The key difference is that, rather than being merely a differentiated service, Uber and Lyft also display higher quality across the board on most dimensions that customer value, except perhaps the ability to hail a car on the street. This does not negate the point I’m making—the increase in variety will increase consumption. However, the impact on the incumbents is likely to be negative more rapidly. Indeed, taxi drivers (most of whom in larger cities do not own their cars or “medallions”) switch to Uber every day; we have already seen evidence of a drop of about 30% in the price of a New York City yellow cab medallion.30 And in July 2015, Evgeny Freidman, the largest owner of yellow cab medallions in New York, filed a petition to put many of his medallion-owning companies into bankruptcy.31 And the eventual impact of on-demand transportation will likely be on the automobile industry as a whole, accelerated by autonomous cars becoming a mass-market commercial reality over the next decade.

Georgios Zervas, Davide Proserpio, and John Byers, “ The Rise of the Sharing Economy: Estimating the Impact of Airbnb on the Hotel Industry,” Boston University School of Management Research Paper No. 2013–16, May 7, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2366898. 29. Alison Griswold, “Airbnb Is Thriving. Hotels Are Thriving. How Is that Possible?” Slate, July 6, 2015. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2015/07/airbnb_disrupting_hotels_it_hasn_t_happened_yet_and_both_are_thriving_what.html. 30. Jennifer Surane, “New York’s Taxi Medallion Business Is Hurting. Thanks to Uber and Lyft.” Skift, July 15, 2015. http://skift.com/2015/07/15/new-yorks-taxi-medallion-business-is-hurting-thanks-to-uber-and-lyft. 31. Josh Barro, “Taxi Mogul, Filing Bankruptcy, Sees Uber-Citibank Plot,” New York Times, July 22, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/upshot/taxi-mogul-filing-bankruptcy-sees-a-uber-citibank-plot.html?abt=0002&abg=1. 32. Andrey Fradkin, “Search Frictions and the Design of Online Marketplaces,” September 30, 2015. http://andreyfradkin.com/assets/SearchFrictions.pdf. 33.

See the full docket report for the case, O’Connor et al v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al https://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/candce/4:2013cv03826/269290. Judge Chen’s decision (filing #251) is available at https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2013cv03826/269290/251. 4. Quoted in Dan Levine and Edward Chan, “Uber and Lyft Fail to Convince Judges,” Business Insider, March 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-and-lyft-fail-to-convince-judges-their-employees-are-independent-contractors-2015-3#ixzz3UIFTYbVy. 5. I have heard Teran discuss this at two separate events in the second half of 2015: the TAP Conference in New York on October 1, and the White House Summit on Worker Voice, October 7. See an op-ed by Sapone at http://qz.com/448846/the-on-demand-economy-doesnt-have-to-imitate-uber-to-win/. 6.


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The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

In 2013, Boston plaintiff lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan brought such lawsuits against Uber and Lyft in the two states where she thought the law was most favorable, California and Massachusetts. She had previously brought similar, largely unsuccessful cases against FedEx and several yellow-cab companies. Uber’s claim that it was facilitating a whole new kind of internet-enabled, on-demand work bothered her. “The mere fact that there is flexibility does not mean that the people who are doing the jobs shouldn’t get benefits and the protections of employment,” she says. “That is the reason we have these laws.” Both Uber and Lyft tenaciously fought against the cases, arguing that the great majority of their drivers didn’t actually consider themselves full-time chauffeurs and wanted to remain independent and free to take other work. The cases against Uber and Lyft drew widespread media attention and produced an unrealistic expectation that they might somehow change the nature of the sharing economy and undermine Uber’s business model.

Instead of proceeding to trial, she leveraged her victories into a settlement. Uber agreed to pay as much as $100 million to a group of tens of thousands of drivers and to institute new policies, such as giving drivers explanations if they violated company rules and got kicked off the app and creating an appeals process for those decisions. But Uber and Lyft drivers were going to remain contractors. “Drivers value their independence—the freedom to push a button rather than punch a clock, to use Uber and Lyft simultaneously, to drive most of the week or for just a few hours,” wrote Kalanick in a blog post titled “Growing and Growing Up” that announced the settlement. He conceded that the company hadn’t “always done a good job working with drivers,” but reiterated that Uber presented “a new way of working: it’s about people having the freedom to start and stop work when they want, at the push of a button.”

Eric Newcomer and Olivia Zaleski, “Inside Uber’s Auto-Lease Machine, Where Almost Anyone Can Get a Car,” Bloomberg.com, May 31, 2016, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-31/inside-uber-s-auto-lease-machine-where-almost-anyone-can-get-a-car. 7. Ryan Lawler, “Uber Slashes UberX Fares in 16 Markets to Make It the Cheapest Car Service Available Anywhere,” TechCrunch, January 9, 2014, http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/09/big-uberx-price-cuts/. 8. Ellen Huet, “How Uber and Lyft Are Trying to Kill Each Other,” Forbes, May 30, 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/05/30/how-uber-and-lyft-are-trying-to-kill-each-other/#4a7e6b063ba8. 9. Carolyn Tyler, “Mother of Girl Fatally Struck by Uber Driver Speaks Out,” ABC7 News, December 9, 2014, http://abc7news.com/business/mother-of-girl-fatally-struck-by-uber-driver-speaks-out/429535/. 10. Travis Kalanick, “@connieezywe Can Confirm,” Twitter, January 1, 2014, https://twitter.com/travisk/status/418518282824458241. 11.


pages: 195 words: 52,701

Better Buses, Better Cities by Steven Higashide

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, business process, congestion charging, decarbonisation, Elon Musk, Hyperloop, income inequality, intermodal, jitney, Lyft, mass incarceration, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, place-making, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart cities, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional

In 2012 (the year Lyft debuted and the year after Uber launched in New York City) Americans took 1.4 billion trips in for-hire vehicles, mostly taxis. By 2017, this had grown to 3.3 billion, mostly in Ubers and Lyfts.21 But (if you’ll recall the NACTO diagram from earlier) a single lane of a city street can carry perhaps 1,600 people an hour in cars; no advanced routing algorithm can magically fit more people into Chicago’s State Street or Los Angeles’ Hollywood Boulevard. Only the spatial magic of public transportation can accomplish that. These technologies also have yet to prove they can offer affordable mobility. Most of Uber and Lyft’s customers are wealthy. TNC users in households that make more than $200,000 a year take more than forty-five TNC trips a year. Customers in households that make less than $15,000 take just six.

But bus speeds have continued to get worse in recent years, falling to 7.4 mph in 2016.12 The same story has been seen in many of America’s cities. In Philadelphia, bus speeds fell every year from 2014 to 2017, and most buses travel below 12 mph.13 Average vehicle speeds have decreased at most transit agencies since 2012, according to the National Transit Database.14 Among the culprits is the enormous increase in Uber and Lyft rides; Amazon and other retailers have also led to a doubling in urban freight traffic associated with online shopping.15 This means even more can go wrong for buses and is going wrong for their riders. Cities have to break out the toolkit and start fixing the streets for transit. Unbunch My Bus Most bus routes are governed by a schedule that tells them when to leave the terminal and when to stop at specific stops.

In 2018, the Boston Transportation Department announced it would create its first-ever “transit team,” a five-person unit that will manage and implement transit priority projects.40 As urban traffic continues to worsen, cities need to design streets, draw routes, and structure organizations to provide fast and dependable transit. “We’re creating this circle where we provide good service, people appreciate it and they demand it, and so we have to provide it and keep improving it,” Bryant said. “The competition . . . the single occupant vehicle and Uber and Lyft . . . is getting better and better. We have to keep up with that competition, and in order to do that, this circle needs to continue to accelerate and expand.” 04 Make the Bus Walkable and Dignified On a Saturday afternoon in April 2010, Raquel Nelson, her 4-year-old son A.J., and her two other children (aged 2 and 9 years) stepped off the bus across the street from their apartment in Marietta, Georgia.


pages: 491 words: 77,650

Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy by Jeremias Prassl

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, call centre, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market friction, means of production, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, pattern recognition, platform as a service, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Singh, software as a service, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, two tier labour market, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, working-age population

co.uk/terms, archived at https://perma.cc/XTH7-Q8V4) attempts to set up functionally equivalent legal structures. We return to a legal analysis of these terms in Chapter 5. 50. Julia Tomassetti, ‘Does Uber redefine the firm? The postindustrial corporation and advanced information technology’ (2016) 34(1) Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal 239, 293: Uber and Lyft sublimate their agency in the production of ride services into algo- rithms, programming, and technology management. The metaphor of the ‘platform’ transforms Uber and Lyft from subjects into spaces. It evokes a passive space to be inhabited by active agents—drivers and passengers. For example, Lyft argues that drivers’ ‘low ratings [are] given by passengers, not Lyft. Uber argued that passengers, and not Uber, controlled drivers’ work. The companies ventriloquize a disinterested machine.’

TaskRabbit, The TaskRabbit Handbook (on file with author), 9; Task Rabbit, ‘Community guidelines’, https://support.taskrabbit.com/hc/en-us/articles/ 204409440-TaskRabbit-Community-Guidelines, archived at https://perma. cc/VX4Q-77CT; Josh Dzieza, ‘The rating game: how Uber and its peers turned us into horrible bosses’, The Verge (28 October 2015), http://www.theverge. com/2015/10/28/9625968/rating-system-on-demand-economy-uber-olive- garden, archived at https://perma.cc/CVU4-GEV7; Benjamin Sachs, ‘Uber and Lyft: customer reviews and the right to control’, On Labor (20 May 2015), http://onlabor.org/2015/05/20/uber-and-lyft-customer-reviews-and-the- right-to-control/, archived at https://perma.cc/9TNM-Y95X 52. Josh Dzieza, ‘The rating game: how Uber and its peers turned us into horrible bosses’, The Verge (28 October 2015), http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/28/ 9625968/rating-system-on-demand-economy-uber-olive-garden, archived at https://perma.cc/CVU4-GEV7 53.

The former approach can be key to platforms’ rapid expansion, particularly in the transportation industry, in which many operators relied on a strategy of ‘asking forgiveness, not permission’. Details vary between jurisdictions and across different cities, but the fundamental question tends to be the same: should the same regulatory and licensing regimes apply to traditional transport operators and platforms such as Uber and Lyft? Historically, national and local regulators have imposed a large number of requirements on taxi companies, from licensing caps and price control, to * * * 36 Doublespeak driver background checks and general access conditions. Platforms argue that their operations are fundamentally different and thus should not be subject to the same requirements. This quickly led to high-profile clashes with regulators and incumbent businesses around the world: from protracted legal battles before a London court over language testing and heated political fights with Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York, to Uber cars being torched in Nairobi and the French police arresting the company’s executives on allegations of operating an ‘illicit’ taxi service.


pages: 190 words: 62,941

Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination by Adam Lashinsky

"side hustle", Airbnb, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, gig economy, Golden Gate Park, Google X / Alphabet X, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

In 2014, Hickenlooper signed a bill that lightly regulated Uber and its competitors, effectively legalizing the service. These battles played out almost everywhere Uber—and Lyft, often behind it—went. In early 2014, for example, the news site BuzzFeed counted seventeen active regulatory fights in various U.S. cities, counties, and states. These included a protracted battle in New York City, where one of the bones of contention was the city’s demand that Uber share trip data with officials, and Orlando, where proposed rules attempted to force Uber and similar companies to charge 25 percent more than taxis. In most instances a massive lobbying and public-relations onslaught succeeded in allowing the ridesharing companies to operate. But not everywhere. In May 2016, Uber and Lyft left Austin, Texas, after refusing to comply with the city’s fingerprinting measures. New ridesharing services willing to comply with Austin’s rules quickly offered service there.

A ridesharing driver since 2015—he also drives for Lyft—Snover has been able to track the decline in Uber payments. He says he earned about $1.50 per mile when he started out. That rate dropped to $1.20 and then a mere 90 cents, which explains his surge-only practice. On the other hand, Snover deftly learned how to take advantage of the generous incentives Uber and Lyft have paid to build up their driver rolls. He said he got $500 for signing up his wife to drive for each service. Together with minimum-level bonuses, the two banked $1,400 from Uber and Lyft just for starting to drive. Many Uber drivers also follow a predictable path from excitement to disappointment to resignation. Bineyam Tesfaye, a former cabbie in Washington, D.C., started driving for Uber in 2016 and was pleased to be earning up to $1,200 a week. He earned about that in his best weeks driving a cab in Richmond, Virginia, before that business got zapped by ridesharing.

Census data, the percentage of households with no vehicles declined from 21.5 percent in 1960 to 9.1 percent in 2010, the year Uber started. It was the same four years later, the last data available. There is similar national data for driver’s licenses: The number ticked up by four million from 2014 to 2015, also according to census data. As well, the Pew Research Center reported in 2016 that while 51 percent of Americans had heard of the concept of ridesharing, just 15 percent had used a service like Uber and Lyft, and another 33 percent were unfamiliar with them altogether. Surveys suggest that Uber has had a meaningful impact on the life of young adults in urban areas but hasn’t yet triggered the kind of societal change it frequently trumpets. Uber does represent a new opportunity for drivers, if a challenging one. Becoming an Uber driver is easy. (To prove the point, I got behind the wheel while researching this book.)


pages: 246 words: 68,392

Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, financial independence, future of work, game design, gig economy, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, law of one price, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, payday loans, post-work, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

“In the new world of on-demand everything,” wrote one critic of this system, “you’re either pampered, isolated royalty—or you’re a 21st century servant.”1 The price of this affordable royalty treatment was still falling. Under pressure to grow as quickly as possible, startups often discounted their services to attract customers and undercut competitors. Uber and Lyft engaged in a “price war” that would eventually in some cities make their services cheaper than public transportation. These price reductions were partially subsidized by venture capitalists who had invested billions in the companies, but they were also funded by cuts to drivers’ pay. As Uber and Lyft became prevalent, the startups continued to cut fares and increase commissions, claiming a higher percentage of each fare as a fee. Customers, if they were aware of any impact that this had on drivers, didn’t seem to care. Anonymized data from millions of credit card accounts showed that Uber’s growth in weekly users started to accelerate in 2015.2 By 2017, Uber had around 2 million drivers and 65 million customers worldwide, according to its cofounder Garrett Camp.3 Uber often argued that its drivers made more money when the company cut fares, and in certain supply-and-demand scenarios, this argument made sense.

“The much-touted virtues of flexibility, independence and creativity offered by gig work might be true for some workers under some conditions,” she said in a speech at an annual conference for the New America Foundation in Washington, “but for many, the gig economy is simply the next step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10 percent.”21 The speech wasn’t exactly about the gig economy: “The problems facing gig workers are much like the problems facing millions of other workers,” Warren noted. But the headlines were definitely about the gig economy: “Elizabeth Warren Takes on Uber, Lyft and the ‘Gig Economy’”;22 “Elizabeth Warren Calls for Increased Regulations on Uber, Lyft, and the ‘Gig Economy’”;23 “Elizabeth Warren Slams Uber and Lyft.”24 In her speech, Warren had acknowledged that talking about TaskRabbit, Uber, and Lyft was “very hip.” It seemed she was right. Sometimes politicians and labor leaders didn’t even need to frame their positions within the context of the gig economy to have them interpreted that way. The media did it for them. When the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division published new guidance on worker classification in July 2015 (which would later be rescinded by the Trump administration), it did not mention Uber.

On its website, it advertised medical, dental, and vision insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, accident and disability insurance, paid vacations, and free life insurance. “We’ve never had a layoff,” the application site bragged. It was a decent job, but not one that was likely to survive automation. In some industries, the gig economy serves as a stop-gap technology, with companies employing people in the cheapest way possible until, eventually, it becomes cheaper to buy a machine. This is the case with Uber and Lyft, for instance. “The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car—you’re paying for the other dude in the car,” Travis Kalanick said on stage at a conference in 2014. “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.”2 Uber started picking up passengers in its first tests of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in 2016.


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New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--And How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms

"side hustle", 3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, battle of ideas, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Chris Wanstrath, Columbine, Corn Laws, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, future of work, game design, gig economy, hiring and firing, IKEA effect, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, Jony Ive, Kibera, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, profit motive, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Snapchat, social web, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, web application, WikiLeaks

Think of Twitter, which has been challenged because its super-participants (the influential super-users who dominate the platform) love its quirky functionality and culture, while those same qualities prevent growth among the vastly larger market of everyday participants, many of whom find Twitter noisy, confusing, and nasty. To dig into these dynamics a bit more deeply, let’s turn to the sharply contrasting ways that Uber and Lyft—two ridesharing apps with very similar businesses—are managing their new power communities. This juxtaposition tells us a lot about the connections among platforms, super-participants, and participants, and the factors that can bring them closer together, or drive them farther apart. ORGANIZING PICKETS VS. ORGANIZING PICNICS: THE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UBER AND LYFT The battle of Uber vs. Lyft has become the Coke vs. Pepsi of the new power economy. The two companies are both chasing the same drivers and riders. They live in fierce and unfriendly competition, with Uber well ahead, having scaled much faster and expanded globally, leading to a valuation over ten times that of Lyft, but with Lyft posing a real threat in some of Uber’s biggest markets.

They live in fierce and unfriendly competition, with Uber well ahead, having scaled much faster and expanded globally, leading to a valuation over ten times that of Lyft, but with Lyft posing a real threat in some of Uber’s biggest markets. The functionality of the two platforms is very similar. An Uber user feels thoroughly at home with the Lyft app and vice versa. But from the beginning, Uber and Lyft have positioned themselves very differently. Uber launched as “everyone’s private driver”—the pitch being that you, too, could slink into the back of a badass shiny black ride. Lyft came to life as “your friend with a car,” with a giant pink mustache amiably perched on the grille, riders hopping in the front seat and fist-bumping the driver a hello. Over time, Lyft has mostly ditched the mustaches and the fist-bumping, but still positions itself as trying to get closer to its drivers, and its riders.

They looked to their network—not simply their senior managers—to find solutions. They created structures to get all three corners of the new power triangle allied in facing the challenge, with incentives for their drivers and the hashtag campaign for their passengers. Inductions and inducements “Rideshare Guy” Harry Campbell has been a driver for both companies. He explained to us that the stark difference in culture between Uber and Lyft plays out broadly in how they manage their drivers. For both firms, the ease of signing up as a driver is touted throughout their networks. (Compare the promise of “signing up takes less than four minutes” with the two years of deep study of the “knowledge” needed to become a London taxi driver—a powerful reminder of how our notions of expertise are changing in a new power world.) Yet for all the similarity, the firms take a different approach to induction.


pages: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

The most acquisitive by far is Tencent with 146 deals and $25.7 billion of investment, followed by Alibaba with 51 deals and its part-owned Alipay with 2 deals and $3.7 billion in volume, and Baidu with 28 tech investments at $4.1 billion.2 China’s dragons have teamed up with top-tier US-based venture firms Mayfield and New Enterprise Associates, private equity firms General Atlantic and Carlyle Group, corporate strategic investors General Motors and Warner Brothers, and Japan’s acquisitive SoftBank. They’ve invested in US ride-hailing leaders Uber and Lyft, electric-carmaker Tesla, and augmented reality innovator Magic Leap. These Chinese tech titans have taken their cues directly from Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They’ve scoured the Valley for promising startups and based their operations not far from Menlo Park’s storied Sand Hill Road firms that backed winners Google, Facebook, and eBay. Tencent opened an office in a converted church in tech-wealthy Palo Alto, home to Stanford University, and has expanded nearby to a much larger California base.

The sharing economy has arisen in China with the uptake of mobile apps and payments and a young consumer population that enjoys experimenting with new things. The appeal of ride hailing is the ability to tap on a mobile screen and secure a driver to take you where you want to go for less than a taxi fare, then step out of the car without dealing with cash. Didi has proven to be an innovator in ride hailing, a segment that has gotten a lot of attention with the recent public offerings of Uber and Lyft in the United States. One Didi service sends a driver to your personal car when you’ve had too much to drink. Another is an SOS feature to activate in case of a hazard or emergency. Today, in China’s congested cities, it’s no longer a status symbol to own a car. It’s a pain because of traffic jams, parking hassles, and financial costs. China has more than 300 million drivers, but only about 20 percent of China’s 1.4 billion population own cars.

Didi has been dealing with the crisis by introducing several safety measures in China that include verifying its drivers with facial recognition tests, installing emergency buttons for both drivers and passengers, and such extreme measures as using the driver’s phone to audio record trips—with the passenger’s consent—that are stored and then deleted at Didi within one week. Not sure if Uber will be trying this out in the United States. The Traffic Brain In some other realms, Didi sees a brighter horizon. The company is focusing on expanding outside China, investing more in AI systems and autonomous driving, conducting research at a Silicon Valley lab, and planning an electric vehicle network of 10 million by 2028. Like Uber and Lyft experimenting with new self-driving thrills, Didi is testing self-driving vehicles in four cities in China and the United States and has a grand plan to launch driver-less taxis soon. Robo taxis are already a reality in China—and the United States. The self-driving highway is looking more and more jammed. Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous car startup, recently launched a test of a self-driving taxi while Waymo, the spinout from Google’s self-driving research, is testing a service in Arizona and Uber has restarted tests of its service after crashes in initial 2018 trials in Pittsburgh and Arizona.


pages: 421 words: 110,406

Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, business process, buy low sell high, chief data officer, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, digital map, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, Haber-Bosch Process, High speed trading, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market design, Metcalfe’s law, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pre–internet, price mechanism, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game, Zipcar

YouTube employs a strong pull and deep understanding of the use of data in matching, while Vimeo differentiates itself through better hosting, bandwidth, and other tools for facilitating production and consumption. BEYOND THE CORE INTERACTION As we’ve seen, platform design begins with the core interaction. But over time, successful platforms tend to scale by layering new interactions on top of the core interaction. In some cases, the gradual addition of new interactions is part of the long-term business plan that platform founders had in mind from the beginning. In early 2015, both Uber and Lyft began experimenting with a new ride-sharing service that complements their familiar call-a-taxi business model. The new services, known as UberPool and Lyft Line, allow two or more passengers traveling in the same direction to find one another and share a ride, thereby reducing their cost while increasing the revenues enjoyed by the driver. Lyft cofounder Logan Green says that ride-sharing was always part of the Lyft idea.

The evolution of Uber, Lyft, and LinkedIn illustrates several of the ways that new interactions may be layered on top of the core interaction in a given platform: • By changing the value unit exchanged between existing users (as when LinkedIn shifted the basis of information exchange from user profiles to discussion posts) • By introducing a new category of users as either producers or consumers (as when LinkedIn invited recruiters and advertisers to join the platform as producers) • By allowing users to exchange new kinds of value units (as when Uber and Lyft made it possible for riders to share rides as well as arranging solo pickups) • By curating members of an existing user group to create a new category of users (as when LinkedIn designated certain participants as “thought leaders” and invited them to become producers of informational posts) Of course, not every new interaction is successful. Jake McKeon founded the social network Moodswing as a place where people could share their emotional states, from elation to gloom.

They do this, in part, by developing rules, practices, and protocols that discourage multihoming. Multihoming occurs when users engage in similar types of interactions on more than one platform. A freelance professional who presents his credentials on two or more service marketing platforms, a music fan who downloads, stores, and shares tunes on more than one music site, and a driver who solicits rides through both Uber and Lyft all illustrate the phenomenon of multihoming. Platform businesses seek to discourage multihoming, since it facilitates switching—when a user abandons one platform in favor of another. Limiting multihoming is a cardinal competitive tactic for platforms. Here’s an example of how the effort to limit multihoming plays out in the new world of strategy. Adobe Flash Player is a browser app that delivers Internet content to users, including audio/video playback and real-time game play.


pages: 340 words: 92,904

Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, longitudinal study, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

You don’t have to spend ten years learning the commuting ropes to know whether the train or bus you’re on is an express or a local, or even when it’s going to show up. You just need a smartphone. Smartphones are also all that’s needed to take advantage of other revolutionary new transportation options: ridesharing services like Via, car-sharing like Zipcar, and—especially—dispatchable taxi services like Uber and Lyft.c However, these and other cool new businesses didn’t create Millennial distaste for driving. They just exploited it. The question remains: why do Millennials find the automobile so much less desirable than their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did? Woodbridge, Virginia, is a small suburb about twenty miles south of Washington, DC. Many of the fifty-five thousand residents commute to Washington each day and return home to the leafy suburbs replete with cul-de-sacs and single-family homes.

In Los Angeles, the largest US market for the most popular service, uberX, drivers average less than $17 an hour before gas and tolls. However, even these aren’t the biggest concerns. If the goal is to improve mobility for city dwellers—to replace automobile dependency with active and multimodal transportation options—then it’s difficult to see how ride-matching can ever be more than a small part of the solution. That’s because the defining characteristic of the Ubers and Lyfts of the world (and of their very vocal cheerleaders) is hostility to regulation. For decades now, regulation has been getting very bad press, and not just from conservative politicians and libertarian economists. Everyone has a list of silly bureaucratic rules that have long outlived their usefulness, and I’m no exception. One of my favorites is the requirement that a car’s registration sticker be to the left of the inspection sticker or you’ll get a ticket.

Long before enough smartphone-carrying drivers hit the streets, the VIM tipping point will be reached. Beyond that point—that is, beyond the maximum carrying capacity of a particular city’s streets—the numbers won’t add up to more mobility, but less. This is an unavoidable fact of life. No matter how sophisticated the technology becomes, public streets will remain a public resource with finite capacity. When ride-matching services like Uber and Lyft treat city streets as a free good, they’re just repeating the same conceptual mistake that the original champions of motordom did during the 1920s—the argument that, while streetcars and trains were responsible for maintenance of “their” right-of-way, streets were free for everyone. Smart cities shouldn’t insist on stupid regulation. But that doesn’t mean they can do without regulation at all.


pages: 326 words: 91,559

Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy by Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Mechanical Turk, back-to-the-land, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, disruptive innovation, do-ocracy, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Food sovereignty, four colour theorem, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hydraulic fracturing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, multi-sided market, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-work, precariat, premature optimization, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, smart contracts, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, undersea cable, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

Municipal and national politicians have come to Scholz and me, among others, in search of policies to consider and evidence they will work. The city of Barcelona has taken steps to enshrine platform cooperativism into its economic strategies. After Austin, Texas, required Uber and Lyft drivers to perform standard safety screenings, the companies pulled their services from the city in May 2015, and the city council aided in the formation of a new co-op taxi company and a nonprofit ride-sharing app; the replacements worked so well that Uber and Lyft paid millions of dollars in lobbying to force their way back before Austin became an example. Meanwhile, UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a “Digital Democracy Manifesto” that included “platform cooperatives” among its eight planks.26 The challenge of such digital democracy goes beyond local tweaks.

What’s more, the airport was planning to change the whole system, just as Green Taxi organized to claim its market share. The airport’s website had a notice about an impending contract bid for taxi companies, replacing the permits. This could reshape the city’s taxi business and make or break Green Taxi’s plan to cooperativize—and unionize, with CWA—one-third of the market. The airport’s new regime affected only taxi companies, but it had everything to do with the influx of apps. Unlike taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers faced no restrictions on their airport usage. They often drove nicer cars and spoke better English; they were more likely to be white. In December 2014, the app drivers made 10,822 trips through the airport, compared to 30,535 by taxis. A year later, for the first time, app-based airport trips exceeded the taxis, and they’d done so every month since. As taxi companies prepared to fight among themselves under the still-unpublished new rules, Silicon Valley’s expansion proceeded unrestrained—even welcomed by the relevant authorities.

To that end, he and his crisis-ridden co-owners pooled more than $1.5 million to put one-third of Denver’s taxi industry under worker control. Self-driving cars hadn’t come to the city’s roads yet, but Wall Street’s anticipation of them was fueling investment in the big apps, which put pressure on the taxi market and motivated so many drivers to set off on their own. The disruption was already happening, and Green Taxi had been born of it. In the beginning, before Uber and Lyft and even checkered taxicabs, there was sharing. At least that’s the story according to Dominik Wind, a German environmental activist with a genial smile and a penchant for conspiracy theories. Years ago, out of curiosity, Wind visited Samoa for half a year; he found that people shared tools, provisions, and sexual partners with their neighbors. Less encumbered by industrial civilization, they appeared to share with an ease and forthrightness long forgotten in the world Wind knew back home.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, congestion charging, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, different worldview, do-ocracy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Zipcar

Uber’s competitive advantage was once in the deals it had negotiated with local limo companies and individual drivers. But nothing prevents drivers from agreeing to drive for both companies or prospective passengers from having both apps on their smartphones. It is my experience with Zipcar and its competitors that customers choose based on a combination of convenience (the technology), price, and proximity. Both Uber and Lyft have business models and apps that appear to work; can the market sustain both? Buying (bribing) users too early in a company’s life cycle will just eat up a lot of money and won’t produce anything lasting. Doing so later is indeed possible, but it can be a very risky strategy depending on a company’s ability to defend that lead. I’ll talk more about the Uber/Lyft battle when I discuss the last phase, later in this chapter.

In Chapter 6 we talked about the range of possibilities when shaping a platform, from constrained to completely open, and how this defined how much innovation could happen. Right now, the Internet and GPS are wholly open platforms. It is this openness that has made for the infinite variation in applications. But some Inc platforms don’t want a lot of variation or creativity or innovation, and so they constrain the types of participation possible. Prosper wants to make loans to creditworthy borrowers. Uber and Lyft want safe drivers with clean cars. Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t much care what you do with those 140 characters. The French precursor to the Internet was called Minitel and was widely used. It didn’t share these key characteristics. You needed a license to publish on it, and it was in every way a corporate and government walled garden. Almost nothing culturally interesting came from it.

In IT governance, this is the point at which the enterprise (the government, the business, the institution) competes against mission delivery (its own goals). As I looked at the graph, it became evident: having some rules (some structure) encourages me to participate, but having too many rules (too much structure) discourages me. Taxi regulations are full of outdated rules; hence the success of Uber and Lyft. Washington, D.C.’s Taxicab Commission chairman, Ron Linton, said that “Uber’s service is illegal because its drivers do not give passengers a receipt as they exit.”11 That’s true only if you define a receipt as a piece of paper. Everyone who uses these services pays by credit card from a preestablished online account and receives an email receipt in real time, pretty much as they close the door of the vehicle.


pages: 244 words: 66,977

Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future - and What to Do About It by Tien Tzuo, Gabe Weisert

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, connected car, death of newspapers, digital twin, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Lean Startup, Lyft, manufacturing employment, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pets.com, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart meter, social graph, software as a service, spice trade, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, transport as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Y2K, Zipcar

The company may take a short-term profitability hit, but the goal is to gain long-term customer loyalty in a very young and turbulent market—and this customer loyalty is becoming more and more important as ridesharing becomes a commodity. Here in the Bay Area, the Uber and Lyft markets are really fluid. I’ll frequently toggle between the two services—lots of the cars even feature both logos in their windshields. There’s very little brand loyalty on my part. Now contrast that with my Amazon Prime experience. All due respect to other potential ecommerce vendors, but Amazon has my business, in no small part due to Amazon Prime—they hooked me with the free shipping, and now I’ve got music, movies, and all sorts of other services. I’m not going anywhere. Uber and Lyft are both vying for that same lock-in effect by offering discounted services around consistent consumption patterns—in other words, they’re going after my commute.

Netflix was still delivering monthly DVDs in the mail, but it was already killing Blockbuster and changing how we consumed media. Online streaming was just around the corner (as many people have pointed out, Reed Hastings called it Netflix for a reason). Zipcar was also a really interesting new concept. It was initially seen as an hourly competitor to Hertz and Budget, but you could already see new ideas opening up around cars and transportation, which Uber and Lyft capitalized on later. And of course the iPhone had just come out—at the time it was more of a fun, plug-and-play app container, but there was the potential for geolocation, identity, messaging. As bandwidth increased and platform costs decreased, there was a logical progression going on toward on-demand, digitally enabled services. And it was happening everywhere. That’s when we decided to start a new company called Zuora.

But what came as a surprise was that 80 percent of people we polled had Zipcar memberships. Yes, there were massive limitations to Zipcar—you had to live in a city, for example. But we could see that the next revisions of this concept (give me the ride, not the car) were just going to get better and better. That experience let us see a future world where car ownership would not be necessary. Today more than 60 million riders use Uber and Lyft. These ridesharing services have ushered in a whole new set of consumer priorities: Why buy a car at all, when all you need to do to get from point A to point B is pull out your phone? Why can’t I just subscribe to transportation the same way I subscribe to electricity and internet access? But wait, you might say. Uber isn’t a subscription service—there are no monthly fees. I disagree. It sure looks and feels like a digital subscription service to me.


pages: 302 words: 73,581

Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Wave and Pay

Imagine, in turn, a producer receiving a request and preparing to fulfill that request, only to find that the request is canceled. In both cases, the respective consumer or producer may become discouraged and decide to abandon the platform. In some of the largest cities, drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft, as well as other competitors. It’s not uncommon for these drivers to switch between the two platforms multiple times a day. With a limited supply of drivers in a city and the cost for a driver to connect to an additional platform being so small, drivers multihome on both Uber and Lyft. This has naturally led to intense competition between the two companies, and Uber infamously resorted to a playbook to create interaction failure on Lyft using questionable tactics. Uber decided to target interaction failure on Lyft by contracting third-party agents to use disposable phones to hail Lyft taxies.

This book explains the inner workings of these new business models and their ability to scale rapidly. The platform business model is powered by a new set of factors that determine value creation and competitive advantage. These factors are rapidly changing how entire industries operate. Upstarts are disrupting deeply rooted traditional industries by leveraging platforms. The decline of Nokia and Blackberry and the challenge of Uber and Lyft to the taxi industry worldwide bear testament to this shift. Meanwhile, individuals and niche brands are gaining rapid market access by leveraging platforms for global reach. Teenagers are building highly monetizable media empires on YouTube, while many freelancers make a better living on Upwork than they ever did or could at a traditional firm. My fascination with platforms emerged from a desire to understand business success and failure in the context of emerging digital business models.

The defensibility and competitive advantage of a platform business are very closely related to the multihoming costs that its producers and consumers incur. Multihoming costs vary for different platforms. When developers co-develop for the Android and iOS platforms, they incur high multihoming costs. Multihoming costs are high for consumers as well because of the cost of mobile phones. Most consumers will own only one phone. However, multihoming costs for drivers to co-exist on Uber and Lyft are relatively low. Many drivers participate on both platforms. Given the ease of booking rides, multi-homing costs are very low for travelers/riders on these platforms as well. This is an important consideration for on-demand platforms. With a limited supply of service providers available, multihoming may lead to a strong, ongoing competition between platforms for access to service providers.


pages: 444 words: 127,259

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, call centre, Chris Urmson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, family office, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, money market fund, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, off grid, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, software as a service, software is eating the world, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Y Combinator

(Even decades later, little excited Kalanick more than discovering an opponent’s vulnerability and exploiting it.) It wasn’t just that he liked to win. Kalanick needed to win. Winning was the only option, his only goal. If you weren’t going to go home with the gold medal at the end of the day, why even show up to the game? At Uber, winning meant the obliteration of any opponent. There wasn’t enough room for Uber and Lyft to coexist, he believed. The game was zero-sum. Every single ride-hailing car on the road in every single important market should have an Uber driver behind the wheel. Nothing less than a complete monopoly would suffice. Kalanick enjoyed the fight. At first he began to needle John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder, on Twitter. In playful jabs, he would troll Zimmer by asking about Lyft’s insurance policies, business practices, and other seemingly esoteric shoptalk.

The company regularly topped the list of biggest spenders across states like New York, Texas, and Colorado—and dozens of others where they faced legislative opposition—throwing down tens of millions of dollars annually to sway lawmakers. David Plouffe, a former Obama administration political operative, was a major hire who knew how to influence city-level as well as national politics. In Portland, Uber hired Mark Weiner, one of the most powerful political consultants in the city. In Austin, Uber and Lyft paid $50,000 to the former Democratic mayor to lead their campaign against regulation. Later, as Uber matured, the company’s staff swelled to include nearly four hundred paid lobbyists across forty-four states; the number of ride-hailing lobbyists outnumbered the paid lobbying staffs of Amazon, Microsoft, and Walmart combined. The money was well spent. Uber was able to sway legislation in many states.

Twitter, too, came in for condemnation. They had given a platform to a billionaire troll, which he leveraged into maximum, round-the-clock exposure. Trump had banked more than $2 billion in “earned media,” that is, free attention—far surpassing that of any other candidate. Now, each tweet was a presidential proclamation. Where once the public and media had adored Big Tech—Facebook and Twitter gave people a voice, while Uber and Lyft gave anyone a ride—now the public devoured stories of state-sponsored hackers using vast databases of personal information to influence the election. Suddenly, nefarious forces in Silicon Valley had led the country off a cliff, and Big Tech was profiting from the strife. Travis Kalanick had spent the past two years steeling Uber for a Clinton presidency. He spun up teams of lobbyists in every market that mattered.


pages: 472 words: 80,835

Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Plenty of “unassailable” market leaders have missed cusps and fallen away. Think Kodak, Borders, Blockbuster, music companies, newspapers. The major car manufacturers don’t want to be the “horse” of a new “horseless carriage” era. The line between the agile technology sector and the lumbering powerhouse automotive industries is blurring. The rise of rideshare and ride hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft means that transportation is being tied ever more closely to your cell phone, while autonomous driving technology will require turning your car into a supercomputer. But these developments are expensive: Carmakers’ R&D budgets jumped 61 percent, to $137 billion from 2010 to 2014. Fiat Chrysler America CEO, Sergio Marchionne, has said he believes it makes no sense for carmakers to spend billions of dollars developing competing, yet largely identical systems.

Such convenience and low cost would make car ownership a dubious financial choice. A 2010 report from UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center[177] found that one car-share vehicle could remove 9 to 13 vehicles from the road, either because households decided to ditch their personal automobile or significantly delay the purchase of one. One survey suggests that every car added to the fleets of Uber and Lyft leads to 32 fewer car sales, meaning potential “lost sales” by 2020 of over 1 million cars.[178] While that only looks at changes in car purchasing in selected urban areas, and doesn’t take account of any changing usage patterns, brought about by driverless cars, that might increase VMT, it is enough to make car manufacturers sit up and take notice. Local authorities at State level may find themselves in a conundrum.

The uncertainty is currently paralysing many of our planners, and can perhaps be a good excuse for inaction, backed by entrenched interests who may lobby for self-serving conservative choices, aiming to lock in their own well-being for as long as possible. So far it seems that many planners are choosing to ignore developments - despite its notorious traffic congestion issues, Los Angeles’ 2015 ten-year vision, “Mobility Plan 2025”, doesn’t even mention driverless cars. Less than 3% of the transportation plans for the 50 most populous cities in the US even mention the transit impacts of ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, let alone driverless cars. Expert opinion on the impact of driverless cars on urban sprawl is divided. On one side, the argument goes that if driverless cars free up parking and garage space, there will be plentiful affordable new residential capacity negating the need for people to move further from city centres for affordable housing. On the other side, the argument goes that if people can be otherwise occupied during even a long commute, they will still be willing to move further from the city centre or their place of employment to have the residence they wish, perhaps with larger gardens than typical closer to the city.


pages: 511 words: 132,682

Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us From Citizen Kings to Market Servants by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Chrome, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, mortgage debt, Network effects, out of africa, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price anchoring, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, winner-take-all economy

Median net worth of Gen X households at the same age was about $15,100”). 14.Martha Ross and Natalie Holmes, “Meet the Millions of Young Adults Who Are Out of Work,” Brookings Institution, April 9, 2019, https://brook.gs/2UveFHI. 15.To illustrate how the digital economy can shift the risk from the powerful tech platforms to the worker, consider Uber and Lyft drivers. When the ride-sharing app enters into a new city, it needs to attract drivers. The first few drivers initially have a lot of power, as Uber and Lyft need to hold onto them (while recruiting even more drivers). They could possibly demand better wages. But as Uber and Lyft keep adding drivers, each driver now becomes slightly more expendable. As their numbers swell from a dozen to a few hundred and then a few thousand, each driver must compete even more fiercely for work, while each driver has even less power to negotiate for better wages and benefits. 16.Brief for the United States and the Federal Trade Commission as Amici Curiae in Support of Appellant and in Favor of Reversal, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of Am. v.

As for Generation Z (defined as those born in the mid-1990s to the early or mid-2000s) 17 percent of young adults ages eighteen to twenty-four are out of work in mid to large cities in the United States, totaling 2.3 million young people.14 They and future generations will likely join the swelling ranks of “precariats”—those clinging precariously to their current economic rung, while bearing ever greater risks in the digital economy.15 Should they try to organize to secure fairer wages, as many Uber and Lyft drivers attempted to do in Seattle in 2015, they can expect the government to intervene—and not on their behalf. Competition is inherently good, the FTC and DOJ will tell the court: Antitrust law “forbids independent contractors from collectively negotiating the terms of their engagement.”16 That’s price-fixing, which “is at the very core of the harms the antitrust laws seek to address.”17 Unionizing, which may be the only remedy left to the powerless, has also come under attack, in part for being anticompetitive—the very same rationale we saw that sent union leaders (and socialists) to jail under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.


pages: 307 words: 90,634

Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar

Santa Clara–based graphics chipmaker Nvidia has added hundreds of engineers to its auto-focused teams in the past few years. “We didn’t start out to be an auto company,” Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s senior director of automotive, told the Times. “But everything that is changing a car has nothing to do with the auto industry of the past.” Start-ups have spotted the opportunity, too, of course. Uber and Lyft, both based in San Francisco, are hogging the early spoils in the ride-sharing market. Younger companies like Mountain View’s Smartcar (infrastructure for the connected car), San Francisco’s Reviver (digital license plates), and Palo Alto’s Nauto (AI-powered autonomous driving) are pursuing other software-related opportunities. Meanwhile, electric power-train companies like Wrightspeed (heavy-duty trucks), Zero (motorcycles), and Proterra (buses) are also in the area and have collectively raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.

As soon as trucking companies can increase their bottom lines by cutting their labor costs, those drivers will find themselves no longer needed. But that won’t be all. There are 5.2 million people in the trucking industry who don’t drive trucks, as well as the millions who provide food, gasoline, accommodation, and other services for truckers. If truck drivers are no longer on the roads, all those people will feel the pain, too. Then you can look at the people who drive taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts. Many taxi drivers have already switched to driving for the ride-sharing companies, but when robotaxis and self-driving Ubers are widespread, many of those jobs will be at risk. Some observers believe that the advent of the autonomous era could have a measurable impact on capitalism as we know it. Revenue from fuel taxes will go down, presumably to be replaced by other sources of income.

In one study from 2007, an urban-planning professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that cars looking for parking in one Los Angeles business area generated 730 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Columbia University’s Earth Institute has found that shared autonomous cars would cost about fifteen cents per mile to operate, compared to sixty cents a mile for personal gasoline cars. Savings would come from improved driving efficiency, reduced wear and tear, and cheaper fuel (electricity). If you take the human driver out of the equation for Uber and Lyft, the cost of getting from A to B on four wheels would also be steeply reduced. We could sell our cars then, and never again have to worry about taking them in for inspection, changing the tires, or being exploited by unscrupulous mechanics. (Unfortunately, of course, people in those job sectors would see their incomes suffer.) If we don’t have to concentrate on the road during our commutes, we’ll have more time for work and leisure.


pages: 320 words: 90,526

Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America by Alissa Quart

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business intelligence, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, East Village, Elon Musk, full employment, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, haute couture, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, job automation, late capitalism, Lyft, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, new economy, nuclear winter, obamacare, Ponzi scheme, post-work, precariat, price mechanism, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, school choice, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, surplus humans, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, women in the workforce, working poor

Yet, stripped of its “generous” veneer, Uber’s teacher-driver campaigns are also sharing in a more twisted Silicon Valley fantasy: low taxes, good schools, and teachers who drive you home after your expense-account meal with a venture capitalist! These conglomerates are gargantuan outfits that offer short-term, cheap services delivered by “independent” contractors. They have become hugely successful by trading labor across platforms over which workers have little to no say. There was also a gendered element of this dark Silicon Valley fantasia. Of the dozen Uber and Lyft driver-teachers I spoke to in 2016, most were also parents, and almost all were men. (Of course, this is often true of the workers employed by these services.) It made me wonder whether men were sometimes more willing to literally drive the extra mile to retain their class status. After all, these men were also affected by the American societal amnesia about the cost of raising a family. Both parents routinely now work more time or additional jobs or stranger hours, or all of the above.

(Ironies compound: as the writer Douglas Rushkoff has noted, today’s drivers are themselves now part of the research and development for what will most likely be the driverless future, building up a company with their labor in preparation for a time when the company will do away with them.) “Our demand is to freeze all the subsidies for the research on autonomous vehicles until there is a plan for workers who are going to lose their jobs,” Lerner said. As part of this effort, NYCC regularly puts together conference calls between dozens of taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers. They discuss how they’ve all gotten massive loans to buy cars for Uber and how they are still going to be paying off these loans when the robots come for their jobs—the robot vehicles Uber has promised within the decade. The robot-fearing Middle Precariat also includes parts of the legal profession: robots are threatening higher-end jobs, including those usually carried out by humans handling information.

Scott, 180 Five Star Sitters, 64 Flat tax, and UBI, 241 Florida Coastal School of Law, 101, 104–5 Flushing High School, 131, 140 Fogel, Karl, 228 Folbre, Nancy, 281n Food stamps, 34, 35, 44, 151, 156, 201, 249, 251 Forbes (Magazine), 235–36 Ford, Martin, 240 Forest Hills High School, 131, 140 Forever clock, 69, 72, 85–86, 238 For-profit schools, 101, 104–5, 172–78, 183, 184 Fox, Carly, 201–2 Fracking, 54 France day care, 80 hospital birth costs, 24 parental leave, 25, 26 social class and education, 103–4 Freeman, Joshua, 71, 84–85 French Women Don’t Get Fat (Guiliano), 25 Freud, Sigmund, 247 Freyer, Randi, 19–20 Frontier Airlines, 19–20 “Fronting,” 6 Fruscione, Joe, 56–57, 59 Full-time equivalents (FTEs), 226 Gabler, Neal, 95 Gainer, Mary-Grace, 54 Gap Inc., 71, 85 Gates, Bill, 226 Gender “class ceiling,” 10, 31 devaluation framework of care work, 76–77, 128–29 motherhood bias, 5–6, 10, 31 pay gap, 16, 51, 76, 104, 151–52 “precarious manhood” theory, 150–51, 262 rethinking traditional roles, 262 TV and, 220–21 Uber and Lyft driver-teachers, 150–51 Gender Equality Law Center (GELC), 29, 30 Geography and basic budget threshold, 99 Georgetown University, 56 George Washington University, 57 Germany day care, 80 parental leave, 26 Gerson, Kathleen, 75, 196 Gifted-and-talented programs, 135, 136 Gig economy, 147–63, 172. See also Uber teacher-driver-fathers “Glass ceiling,” 10, 29 “Global care chain,” 112 Globalization, 183 Global Wealth Report, 7 Goffman, Erving, 28 GoFundMe, 62, 152 Goldman, Belle, 183–84 Goldstein, Dana, 82–83 Goodwill, 33, 35 Gothamist, 183 Gould, Elise, 253 Great Britain.


pages: 285 words: 86,853

What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

These universes are aesthetically neat and tidy, with rules and conditions that, we believe, can be learned and ultimately mastered. The aesthetic of computational order echoes Bogost’s warning about the cathedral; its appeal for human engagement is rapidly expanding from play to work. Increasingly, startups are bringing this logic to the real world, creating game-like experiences for services like taxis (e.g., Uber and Lyft), household chores (Handy, HomeJoy, Mopp) and even office communications (Slack). These companies operate in what design entrepreneur Scott Belsky calls the “interface layer,” using appealing design to clarify and rationalize messy aspects of cultural life into simple, dependable choices.32 The Interface Economy If Zynga and its cohort of game-makers have found ways to extract labor value from entertainment, the new wave of interface layer companies is reframing labor as a kind of entertainment, adopting the optimistic framing of the “sharing economy.”

Figure 4.4 Lyft advertising takes a very different tack from Uber. For companies like Lyft and more deliberately intimate interface layer systems like the dating app Tindr, the “sharing economy” is not about money at all, but about that experience of companionship. If these business models are founded on exploiting certain kinds of alienated labor and attention, their customer experience promises relief from that alienation. Even as Uber and Lyft collect their invisible commissions on unseen transactions, the affective experience is one of a specially branded community. But that community is crucially, essentially mediated by the algorithm. Drivers and riders are rated and vetted through computation; the interface layer bringing them together is also the central arbiter of trust. Little wonder that the most serious threats to these companies are not financial scandals but attacks on that trust, as when Uber was revealed to be tracking the movements of journalists, or incidents where its drivers have been arrested for sexually assaulting passengers.37 The sharing economy ultimately depends on an atomized form of intimacy, a series of fleeting, close encounters with strangers that are managed and underwritten (in emotional, financial, and liability terms) by algorithmic culture machines.

By relying on Amazon’s task distribution network and personal computers, the system also constrains the bodies and the time of its users (depending on the fluctuations of what piecework is available at any given time, and how well that work is compensated). The system produces HITs but also a kind of labor culture around those HITs. That trace of a labor culture also appears in the apps and interfaces of the sharing economy. As the ads for Uber and Lyft suggest (figure 4.3, figure 4.4), a huge amount of energy in the interface economy goes toward the production of affect among consumers and providers of services. User feedback, emotional enjoyment, and a neoliberal ideal of independence define these systems at every level, from their logos to their feedback mechanisms. They are persuasive platforms designed to create an algorithmically mediated space of community.


pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

"side hustle", Airbnb, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

A market opportunity that would have been available to a few thousand people that could afford to build a hotel is now available to a few million people that may have a spare bedroom. There are not many more houses now in the U.S. than there were 5 years ago, but AirBnB has created more inventory (extra rooms to stay in) without creating more supply (building hotels). Uber and Lyft have done for the taxi industry what AirBnB has done for the hotel industry—anyone with a car can become a taxi driver by signing up online to drive for the service. In the past it was difficult and expensive to become a taxi driver. Some cities require drivers to invest tens of thousands of dollars to buy a medallion just to drive a taxi. Uber and Lyft now let anyone do the work by instead going through a background check. A lot of people use this as supplemental income when making a job transition. They don’t have to invest thousands of dollars—they can just sign up on the website and make a few thousand bucks a month between jobs.


pages: 296 words: 98,018

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

"side hustle", activist lawyer, affirmative action, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, friendly fire, global pandemic, high net worth, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyperloop, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, working poor, zero-sum game

But under the law, if they could prove that a company had pervasive, ongoing power over them as they did their work, they could still qualify as employees. To be a contractor is to give up certain protections and benefits in exchange for independence, and thus that independence must be genuine. The case inspired the judges in the two cases, Edward Chen and Vince Chhabria, to grapple thoughtfully with the question of where power lurks in a new networked age. It was no surprise that Uber and Lyft took the rebel position. Like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft claimed not to be powerful. Uber argued that it was just a technology firm facilitating links between passengers and drivers, not a car service. The drivers who had signed contracts were robust agents of their own destiny. Judge Chen derided this argument. “Uber is no more a ‘technology company,’ ” he wrote, “than Yellow Cab is a ‘technology company’ because it uses CB radios to dispatch taxi cabs, John Deere is a ‘technology company’ because it uses computers and robots to manufacture lawn mowers, or Domino Sugar is a ‘technology company’ because it uses modern irrigation techniques to grow its sugar cane.”

It markets itself to customers as an on-demand ride service, and it actively seeks out those customers. It gives drivers detailed instructions about how to conduct themselves. Notably, Lyft’s own drivers’ guide and FAQs state that drivers are “driving for Lyft.” Therefore, the argument that Lyft is merely a platform, and that drivers perform no service for Lyft, is not a serious one. The judges believed Uber and Lyft to be more powerful than they were willing to admit, but they also conceded that the companies did not have the same power over employees as an old-economy employer like Walmart. “The jury in this case will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes,” Judge Chhabria wrote. Judge Chen, meanwhile, wondered whether Uber, despite a claim of impotence at the center of the network, exerted a kind of invisible power over drivers that might give them a case.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

Blockchain solves this problem as well, providing people with a digital ID that will follow them around the internet. What can we do with this identity? Own our own data, for one. Blockchain IDs could also facilitate fair and accurate voting. Lastly, if your identity can be established, then a reputation score can easily be attached. This score allows for things like peer-to-peer ridesharing, which today require trusted third parties named “Uber” and “Lyft.” In the same way that blockchain can validate identity, it can also validate any asset—for example, ensuring that your engagement ring isn’t a blood diamond. Land titles are another opportunity, especially since a considerable portion of the planet lives on land they don’t own, or not officially. Consider Haiti. The combination of earthquakes, dictatorships, and forced evacuations makes determining who actually owns which bits of property a giant quagmire.

As of January 2019, Wealthfront had $11 billion under management, while Betterment was at $14 billion. While robo-advisors still account for only roughly 1 percent of total U.S. investment, Business Insider Intelligence estimates that number will climb to $4.6 trillion by 2022. Finally we come to our last category, using money to pay for things. But we already know this story. When was the last time you dropped coins into a toll booth? Or paid cash for a cab ride? In fact, Uber and Lyft allow us to get around a city without a wallet. Couple cashier-less stores like Amazon Go with services like Uber Eats and these wallet-less ways are about to become the new normal. Denmark stopped printing money in 2017. The year prior, in an attempt to expand mobile banking and demonetize the country’s gray-market economy, India recalled 86 percent of its cash. Vietnam wants retail to be 90 percent cashless by 2020.

The majority of our organizations and institutions were built in another era, at a time when success was measured in size and stability. For most of the last century, standard metrics for business success were number of employees, ownership of assets, that sort of thing. In our exponential world, agility beats stability, so why own when you can lease? And why lease when you can crowdsource? Airbnb built the largest hotel chain in the world, yet doesn’t own a single room. Uber and Lyft have all but replaced cab companies in every major metropolis yet don’t own a single taxi. And this level of flexibility, while now a requirement in business, is equally necessary in governance, which is our third and final category. Modern ideas about government emerged about three hundred years ago, in a post-revolutionary world, when a desire for freedom from tyranny went hand in hand with a desire for stability.


pages: 212 words: 69,846

The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World by Rahm Emanuel

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, blockchain, carbon footprint, clean water, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, Filter Bubble, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, Lyft, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, urban planning, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor

I had encouraged President Obama to create and fund it in his budget, and we were the first applicants. (Funny how that happened.) We also found some money in a federal program called Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement. We had a start, but we needed more. So I put on my dancing shoes and went down to Springfield. I cajoled our state to change TIF regulations so we could apply TIFs to transportation. We also levied a first-ever fee on the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, which raised $16 million in its first year (2017). We used that money to raise $180 million in bonds to be used for capital improvement. We did this—the biggest modernization of our transit system in the city’s history—without raising our tax rates or fare increases, and without a new federal transportation bill. Finding the money is more complicated than it should be. This is how a mayor can and must work the levers to get things done for a city.

The idea is to help the students cope with such feelings as frustration and to “think about their thinking.” This is vitally important: Much of the violence we see in our cities is impulsive, an overreaction to provocation. I loved the program from the beginning, and I did much to enhance and boost its reach. We funded some of it from a $10.4 million settlement we received after we sued Uber and Lyft for inadequate background checks on their drivers. This idea was hatched at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. We started to scale it up, and it now reaches 7,000 young men and is being copied by other cities, such as Boston. The goal is to reach all young men in crime-ridden neighborhoods by ensuring they are in a mentoring program from seventh to eleventh grades. Chicago is on track to achieve that goal this year.


pages: 242 words: 73,728

Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

“These folks are complaining that they’re not even considered employees. They’re not valued. There’s no way to get ahead doing this.” The drivers explained how and why in vivid detail. “There were more and more people jumping on to Lyft and Uber, especially Uber, and then at one point, Uber was doing this special thing to try and get more passengers, where they did a discount or they took out the service charge for passengers,” Heather Smith, an Uber and Lyft driver, told me. (I agreed to withhold her real last name, to avoid retaliation by her employers.) “When I would look at my breakdown of payment, I was basically seeing them pay themselves and then take half the service charge and then pay me. I said, ‘Fuck it. Good-bye, Uber.’ ” She told me that she did make decent money mentoring new drivers for Lyft. “Well, they didn’t compensate for me doing the calls and stuff like that, but once I would meet with the person and do a mentor session, which is usually like thirty minutes, forty-five at the max, then I would be paid $35 just for that session,” she said.

On-demand, gig-economy firms usually do not hire their drivers or shoppers or delivery workers, instead classifying them as contractors and buying their services. That means that the companies are not subject to minimum-wage rules. They do not need to divert their workers’ paychecks into unemployment-insurance funds or Social Security. They are not required to offer health care to workers who spend full-time hours on the clock. Many Uber and Lyft drivers feel the companies had misled them, promising, if not employment in a traditional sense, a stake in something. “When you sign up, they refer to you as a partner,” Seth McGrath, a forty-year-old Uber driver, chimed in, as everyone around the table nodded. “Which is so not true. They keep you at arm’s length, right? You can’t call anyone. You can’t talk to a warm body.” The sudden rise of gig-economy jobs in many ways feels like the apotheosis of the past half century of workplace trends.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

But then came the onslaught of new drivers working for services like Uber and Lyft, and rates plummeted for everyone, so low that nobody could make a living as a driver anymore. Schifter was putting in seventeen-hour days, sometimes earning as little as $4 an hour. He fell into debt. He missed a mortgage payment and was in danger of losing his home. “I have been financially ruined,” he wrote. “I will not be a slave working for chump change. I would rather be dead.” Silicon Valley promotes the gig economy as an innovative new industry that is creating jobs for millions of people. But the jobs being created are mostly bad ones. Meanwhile, gig-economy companies threaten established industries. Airbnb steals business from hotels. Uber and Lyft have hurt business at car-rental companies like Hertz and Avis, and have utterly decimated the taxi and livery business.


pages: 305 words: 79,303

The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World by Scott Galloway

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, California gold rush, cloud computing, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, follow your passion, future of journalism, future of work, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, passive income, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, undersea cable, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, working poor, young professional

“Uber is the world’s largest job creator, adding about 50,000 drivers per month, says board member.” Business Insider. March 15, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-offering-50000-jobs-per-month-to-drivers-2015-3. 22. Uber Estimate. http://uberestimator.com/cities. 23. Nelson, Laura J. “Uber and Lyft have devastated L.A.’s taxi industry, city records show.” Los Angeles Times. April 14, 2016. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uber-lyft-taxis-la-20160413-story.html. 24. Schneider, Todd W. “Taxi, Uber, and Lyft Usage in New York City.” February 2017. http://toddwschneider.com/posts/taxi-uber-lyft-usage-new-york-city/. 25. “Scott Galloway: Switch to Nintendo.” 26. Deamicis, Carmel. “Uber Expands Its Same-Day Delivery Service: ‘It’s No Longer an Experiment’.” Recode. October 14, 2015. https://www.recode.net/2015/10/14/11619548/uber-gets-serious-about-delivery-its-no-longer-an-experiment. 27.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Feeding more activity to the ledger simply cedes more of humanity and business alike to a growth-centric industrial model that was invented to thwart us to begin with. That’s the problem with any of the many new ways we have of earning income through previously off-the-books activities. On the one hand, they create thrilling new forms of peer-to-peer commerce. eBay lets us sell our attic junk. Web site Airbnb lets us rent out our extra bedrooms to travelers. Smartphone apps Uber and Lyft let us use our vehicles to give people rides, for money. Unlike many of the other platforms we’ve looked at so far, these opportunities don’t lead to power-law distributions, because a car or home can be hired only by one person at a time. As long as you’re listed on the network and have decent reviews, you should do as well as anyone else. From the consumer’s side, these apps are amazing. If you need a ride, you can open Uber and see a map of the area along with tiny icons for the available cars.

Their ads show people sharing an extra bedroom and a place at the family table, but the statistics reveal that the vast majority (87 percent) of hosts leave their homes in order to rent them.37 Homes become amateur hotels, as the original residents try to live off the arbitrage between the rent they pay, the rent they earn, and the cost of living somewhere other than home. Even if you are having trouble finding work in the digital economy, you no longer have an excuse for being entirely off the books. Just don’t let the landlord find out what you’re doing. Likewise, the amateur taxi networks of Uber and Lyft are great ways for otherwise “underemployed” vehicle owners to make a few extra bucks. There’s no reason now to leave a worthwhile asset or hour off the books—even if the underemployed are really underpaid freelancers working a whole lot of hours already. These apps are not about sharing space in a vehicle—like driving a friend to the train station—they’re about monetizing unemployed people’s time and stuff.


pages: 463 words: 105,197

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric Posner, E. Weyl

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, feminist movement, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, guest worker program, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, market bubble, market design, market friction, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, negative equity, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, Pareto efficiency, passive investing, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Rory Sutherland, Second Machine Age, second-price auction, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, telepresence, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Governments around the world use auctions based on Vickrey’s ideas to sell licenses to use radio spectrum. Facebook, Google, and Bing use a system derived from Vickrey’s auction to allocate advertising space on their web pages. Vickrey’s insights about urban planning and congestion pricing are slowly changing the face of cities, and they play an important role in the pricing policies of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.2 However, none of these applications reflects the ambition that sparked Vickrey’s work. When Vickrey won the Nobel Prize, he reportedly hoped to use the award as a “bully pulpit” to bring George’s transformative ideas and the radical potential of mechanism design to a broader audience.3 Yet Vickrey died of a heart attack three days after learning of his prize. Even had he lived, Vickrey may have struggled to inspire the public.

Leaders, political campaigns, and political scientists have begun to explore whether using QV to elicit public opinions allows them to more accurately answer the questions so crucial to their jobs: how can we form a platform and reach compromises that will respect the strongly held views of a range of citizens? In the coming years, experiments with QV will offer a proving ground for the practical utility of QV. RATING AND SOCIAL AGGREGATION Rating and social aggregation systems fuel today’s digital economy. Reputation systems are the crucial trust mechanisms that allow “sharing economy” services like Airbnb, VRBO, Uber, and Lyft to win consumer acceptance and give providers the confidence to adopt the system.46 They play a core role in the popular search services offered by Amazon, Google, Apple’s app store, and Yelp. Yet a growing body of evidence suggests these systems are badly broken. As noted above, almost all reviews cluster toward five stars, and a few at one star, making the resulting feedback biased and what statisticians call “noisy,” that is, not very accurate.47 Other online platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram, gather limited information because they only allow “likes,” and other limited forms of response, rather than allowing participants to exhibit exceptional enthusiasm, or distaste, for particular content.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin

Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator

The instability in employment is widely seen as one reason for the country’s ultra-low birth rate.15 Many of today’s “precariat” work in the contingent “gig” economy, associated with firms such as Uber and Lyft. These companies and their progressive allies, including David Plouffe (who managed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008), like to speak of a “sharing” economy that is “democratizing capitalism” by returning control of the working day to the individual. They point to opportunities that the gig economy provides for people to make extra money using their own cars or homes. The corporate image of companies like Uber and Lyft features moonlighting drivers saving up cash for a family vacation or a fancy date while providing a convenient service for customers—the ultimate win-win.16 Yet for most gig workers there’s not very much that is democratic or satisfying in it.


pages: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

As a result, Airbnb, Slack, Uber, and many other start-ups use AWS.79 Uber further relies on Google for mapping, Twilio for texting, SendGrid for emailing, and Braintree for payments: it is a lean platform built on other platforms. These companies have also offloaded costs from their balance sheets and shifted them to their workers: things like investment costs (accommodations for Airbnb, vehicles for Uber and Lyft), maintenance costs, insurance costs, and depreciation costs. Firms such as Instacart (which delivers groceries) have also outsourced delivery costs to food suppliers (e.g. Pepsi) and to retailers (e.g. Whole Foods) in return for advertising space.80 However, even with this support, Instacart remains unprofitable on 60 per cent of its business, and that is before the rather large costs of office space or the salaries of its core team are taken into account.81 The lack of profitability has led to the predictable measure of cutting back on wages – a notably widespread phenomenon among lean platforms.


pages: 139 words: 33,246

Money Moments: Simple Steps to Financial Well-Being by Jason Butler

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, diversified portfolio, estate planning, financial independence, fixed income, happiness index / gross national happiness, index fund, intangible asset, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, passive income, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Steve Jobs, time value of money, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

Thirty years later my current car is a lot more comfortable (and reliable) than that old Vauxhall, but it is also a lot more expensive. The cost of car insurance for young people has skyrocketed over the past decade, to the extent that is can be almost as much as the value of the vehicle. This often makes it unaffordable without financial help from their family. The advent of ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, and the eventual availability of autonomous electric cars, together with wider adoption of car-sharing and better public transport, as well as rising vehicle running costs, are combining to undermine car ownership among younger people in urban areas. ‘Our intention is to make Uber so efficient, cars so highly utilized, that for most people it is cheaper than owning a car.’ said Uber’s then CEO Travis Kalanick in 2015.


pages: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

The demise of companies like Jawbone and the lack of excitement about new IPOs are just two signs of the bubble economy in the Valley. Burgeoning debt is another. Netflix, for example, recently raised $2 billion through a junk bond offering to fund new content.21 It will be interesting to see how the next round of big anticipated IPOs goes—or if they go at all. Many top tech companies have opted to stay private longer, bidding up their valuations and raising expectations. Both Uber and Lyft completed disappointing IPOs as I was finishing this book. I suspect they won’t be the only companies unable to live up to the hype. I’m thinking in particular of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, but also Peter Thiel’s Palantir, which has been scaling back its thirteen-course lobster tail and sashimi lunches in anticipation of its public offering (probably a good idea, given that the company has yet to turn a profit in its fourteen-year history, despite having a valuation of $20 billion).22 Today’s darlings can so easily become tomorrow’s discards; as I finish this book, SoftBank, the bloated Japanese tech investment firm, has just scrapped its $16 billion plan to buy a stake in WeWork.

“Who gave the government the right to create monetary value because of scarcity?” said Eric Schmidt to me back in 2015 when I interviewed him for the Kalanick profile. (Google Ventures had invested a whopping $258 million in Uber in 2013, pretty much giving Kalanick a blank check for whatever terms he wanted.)32 “Cab drivers can’t afford million-dollar medallions, so they end up working for financing companies.” It’s a fair point; while Uber and Lyft have taken much of the blame for the disruption in the taxi industry, recent New York Times reporting has also shown that city officials themselves have for years been in cahoots with dicey lenders to drive up the prices of official Yellow Cab medallions, which have since crashed, leaving many drivers in the lurch.33 Schmidt told me four years ago that he believed people like Kalanick were necessary to disrupt the system.


pages: 386 words: 113,709

Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road by Matthew B. Crawford

1960s counterculture, Airbus A320, airport security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, British Empire, Burning Man, call centre, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, deskilling, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Fellow of the Royal Society, gig economy, Google Earth, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, Lyft, Network effects, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, security theater, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social graph, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, too big to fail, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, Wall-E, Works Progress Administration

Mike Isaac, “Uber Defies California Regulators with Self-Driving Car Service,” New York Times, December 16, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/technology/uber-defies-california-regulators-with-self-driving-car-service.html. 9.John Harris, “With Trump and Uber, the Driverless Future Could Turn into a Nightmare,” Guardian, December 16, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/16/trump-uber-driverless-future-jobs-go. 10.These are the findings of the city’s transport department as characterized by Nicole Gelinas in “Why Uber’s Investors May Lose Their Lunch,” New York Post, December 26, 2017, available at https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/why-ubers-investors-may-lose-their-lunch-10847.html. 11.“Uber and Lyft Want to Replace Public Buses,” New York Public Transit Association, August 16, 2016, https://nytransit.org/resources/transit-tncs/207-uber-and-lyft-want-to-replace-public-buses. 12.Huber Horan, “Uber’s Path of Destruction,” American Affairs 3, no. 2 (Summer 2019). 13.Horan, “Uber’s Path of Destruction.” Horan cites structural problems that are intrinsic to the taxi market, requiring extra-market remedies. For example, as with all urban transport modes, taxi demand has “extreme temporal and geographic peaks,” leading to a combination of overcapacity at slow hours and scarcity at peak demand.


pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

These have reduced the transaction costs and friction in the system to a point where it is an economic gain for all involved, divided in much finer increments. Well-known examples of the sharing economy exist in the transportation sector. Zipcar provides one method for people to share use of a vehicle for shorter periods of time and more reasonably than traditional rental car companies. RelayRides provides a platform to locate and borrow someone’s personal vehicle for a period of time. Uber and Lyft provide much more efficient “taxi-like” services from individuals, but aggregated through a service, enabled by location services and accessed through mobile apps. In addition, they are available at a moment’s notice. The sharing economy has any number of ingredients, characteristics or descriptors: technology enabled, preference for access over ownership, peer to peer, sharing of personal assets (versus corporate assets), ease of access, increased social interaction, collaborative consumption and openly shared user feedback (resulting in increased trust).


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

By June 2016, Uber was valued at $68 billion and had raised $15 billion from investors, which it used to aggressively fund even more rapid expansion around the world. In many cities, taxi companies and other incumbents in urban personal transportation have seen their business fall off as Uber has grown. Traditional taxis provided 8.4 million trips in Los Angeles in 2012, the year before the arrival of Uber and Lyft in the city. Within three years, taxi rides had declined by almost 30%, and prearranged taxi rides were down 42%. Further north, San Francisco’s largest taxi company, Yellow Cab Cooperative, filed for bankruptcy in January of 2016. Taxi medallions—transferable licenses to legally operate a cab and pick up street hails—had long been considered good investments. In New York City, for example, the price of a medallion rose steeply in the early years of the twenty-first century, reaching more than $1.3 million by 2013.

But by March of 2016, Uber was handling 50 million rides per month in the United States. The great majority of Uber’s ride suppliers were not professional chauffeurs; they were simply people who wanted to make money with their labor and their cars. So how did this huge market overcome severe information asymmetries? In 2013, California passed regulations mandating that transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft conduct criminal background checks on their drivers. These checks certainly provided some reassurance, but they were not the whole story. After all, UberX and its competitor Lyft both grew rapidly before background checks were in place, and by August 2016, BlaBlaCar still did not require them for its drivers. Instead, these companies used their platforms’ user interfaces to overcome the information asymmetries that plagued their markets.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

David Johnston is a senior board member at the Mastercoin Foundation, the body that coordinates the funding for the Mastercoin project, which offers a special software platform for developers to design special decentralized applications that can run on top of the bitcoin blockchain. He says blockchain technology “will supercharge the sharing economy,” that emerging trend in which apartment owners use Airbnb.com to rent out quasi hotel rooms and car owners sign up as self-employed taxidrivers for smartphone-based Uber and Lyft. The idea is that if we can decentralize the economy and foster multiple forms of peer-to-peer exchanges, people will figure out profitable ways to turn much of what they own or control into a marketable service. Johnston is known for having coined the term DApp, for “decentralized autonomous application,” to describe the kind of specialized software programs that could thrive in blockchain-based settings.

Got some extra computing power sitting on your desktop? Share it with those who need it. Got a car sitting idle in your driveway? Share that. Got a big idea? Share it online and raise the money online to fund it. Business symbols of this era so far include the personal-apartment rental site Airbnb, the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, the peer-to-peer lending network Lending Club, and the taxi services controlled by individual car owners Uber and Lyft. In some respects these new business models are extensions of a process that began far earlier with the advent of the Internet. While no self-respecting bitcoiner would ever describe Google or Facebook as decentralized institutions, not with their corporate-controlled servers and vast databases of customers’ personal information, these giant Internet firms of our day got there by encouraging peer-to-peer and middleman-free activities.


Virtual Competition by Ariel Ezrachi, Maurice E. Stucke

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, cloud computing, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate governance, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, demand response, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, double helix, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Firefox, framing effect, Google Chrome, index arbitrage, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, light touch regulation, linked data, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market friction, Milgram experiment, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price discrimination, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, yield management

Granted, the customer can compare the Uber price to alternatives (such as taxis or other car ser vice platforms like Lyft), but as more customers and drivers rely on Uber’s platform, one may wonder what effect its algorithm could have on the market price. To illustrate, let us suppose Uber is the dominant car ser vice platform in Nashville. Let us also assume taxis, for various reasons, are not a significant competitive restraint. What, if any, competition is left? Uber drivers do not offer discounts, as Uber’s pricing algorithm determines the fare. Nor will Uber drivers necessarily compete by offering better ser vice. One study of Uber and Lyft drivers found that they “distanced themselves from one another by checking other drivers’ locations on the map so that they did not compete with each other for passenger requests. When drivers desired a break but did not want to turn off their driver applications to benefit from an hourly payment promotion, they parked in between the other ridesharing cars in order not to get any requests.”27 So, as more people use Uber in Nashville, more drivers will likewise gravitate to Uber’s platform, which further reduces users’ wait time, increasing Uber’s appeal.

Two studies have drawn into question Uber’s claim that its surge pricing brings more drivers into the market. One study examined four weeks of Uber data and did not find evidence of surge pricing bringing more drivers out on the roads. Instead, surge pricing appeared to push “drivers already on the job toward neighborhoods with more demand—and higher surge pricing. As a result, some neighborhoods are left with higher waiting times for a car.”15 Another study interviewed Uber and Lyft drivers. Over half of the interviewed drivers said they were “not influenced by surge pricing information as the supply-demand control algorithms failed to accommodate their abilities, emotion, and motivation.”16 As the study found, Surge pricing changed too rapidly and unexpectedly to utilize the information in a strategic way to boost their incomes. Surge areas were on and off, sometimes by the second, and being in the surge area did not guarantee requests from within the surge area.17 To Regulate or Not to Regulate 211 Even if surge pricing did not have its intended effect of quickly attracting additional drivers to the road, the invisible hand could still be at work.


pages: 172 words: 48,747

The View From Flyover Country: Dispatches From the Forgotten America by Sarah Kendzior

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American ideology, barriers to entry, clean water, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, George Santayana, glass ceiling, income inequality, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, payday loans, pink-collar, post-work, publish or perish, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Buffered by their eternal uncoolness, these slow-changing cities have a chance to make better choices—choices that value the lives of people over the aesthetics of place. In an April blog post, Umar Lee, a St. Louis writer and full-time taxi driver, bemoaned the economic model of ride-share services, which are trying to establish themselves in the city. Noting that they hurt not only taxi drivers but poor residents who have neither cars nor public transport and thus depend on taxis willing to serve dangerous neighborhoods, he dismisses Uber and Lyft as hipster elitists masquerading as innovators: “I’ve heard several young hipsters tell me they’re socially-liberal and economic-conservative, a popular trend in American politics,” he writes. “Well, I hate to break it to you, buddy, but it’s economics and the role of the state that defines politics. If you’re an economic conservative, despite how ironic and sarcastic you may be or how tight your jeans are, you, my friend, are a conservative…” Lee tells me he has his own plan to try to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification, which he calls “50-50-20-15.”


pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Thomas Davenport, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Soon the public conversation will be about whether humans should be allowed to take control of the wheel at all. This paradigm shift will not be without costs or controversies. For sure, widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will eliminate the jobs of the millions of Americans whose living comes of driving cars, trucks, and buses (and eventually all those who pilot planes and ships). We will begin sharing our cars, in a logical extension of Uber and Lyft. But how will we handle the inevitable software faults that result in human casualties? And how will we program the machines to make the right decisions when faced with impossible choices—such as whether an autonomous car should drive off a cliff to spare a busload of children at the cost of killing the car’s human passenger? I was surprised, upon my first sight of a Google car on the street, at how mixed my emotions were.


pages: 499 words: 144,278

Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 4chan, 8-hour work day, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, call centre, cellular automata, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, don't repeat yourself, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, illegal immigration, ImageNet competition, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, lone genius, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, microservices, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Nicholas Carr, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, planetary scale, profit motive, ransomware, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, the High Line, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

Uber flooded the streets in cities worldwide with cars, which was terrific for riders—but less so for drivers, many of whom began to find it harder and harder to piece together a steady living, given the frenetic competition on the streets. (In New York City alone, in 2018 there were only 13,578 traditional taxis, but the number of ride-hail drives had exploded to 80,000.) Certainly, drivers who were only doing it for spare money were thrilled to have a way to quickly pick up some extra pocket money; Uber and Lyft made it possible to do driving as piecework. But it was bad news for anyone looking to drive as a reliably steady gig, a job that historically has been one of the easier-to-acquire forms of work for immigrants in big cities. “What Uber and Lyft have done is come into the industry and wreck it,” as the Nigerian cabdriver Nnamdi Uwazie told NBC. By 2017, several cabdrivers had committed suicide and blamed the ride-hail firms for destabilizing their work so massively that it wasn’t possible to rely on driving for a predictable income.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

If you live in New York City, like I do, a taxi that picks you up in Manhattan is legally obliged to take you wherever you want to go, including to one of the other boroughs (with the meter running the whole time, of course). Unless you are violent, disruptive, or otherwise problematic, the driver can’t refuse you a ride based on your skin color or some star rating you’ve accumulated. You can also expect to pay a standard fare, unlike with Uber and Lyft, which are known to institute surge pricing to leverage high demand. Uber claims that surge pricing represents a market-based solution and offers a fair price based on availability. Except that Uber controls the market. They decide how many cars are on the road—the company has been caught asking drivers to stay off the road in order to drive up rates. At the same time, Uber has presented itself as a populist operation with a low threshold for entry.

It also allows one to refuse to do business with the other without suffering great consequences—unlike, for example, the TaskRabbit worker who was almost fired from the service after complaining about a misleading job listing involving piles of laundry covered in cat diarrhea. If I approached a laundry service with such a task, they’d either laugh at me or demand a hefty price to do the work, and understandably so. Some of these companies have helped to spur establishment players toward needed reforms. Taxi services, often seen as resisting innovation, have begun adopting smartphone apps and e-hailing systems to keep up with Uber and Lyft. Airbnb has shown that many people are interested in renting out their homes, despite laws that prevent doing so, and that cities may have to work to accommodate this need. But in the spirit of disruption, these companies tend to show up in a new city promising to lead a revolution, only to be forced—by court order, political pressure, or the realization that existing regulations do some good and are unlikely to be overturned—to start negotiating with political leaders and abide by local laws.


pages: 667 words: 149,811

Economic Dignity by Gene Sperling

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, full employment, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, job automation, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, liberal world order, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, offshore financial centre, payday loans, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, speech recognition, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System, traffic fines, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

As UberX was launching in 2012, of the nearly two million in-home workers like housekeepers, childcare workers, and direct-care aides—overwhelmingly women and a majority people of color—only 12 percent received health insurance from their job, and only 7 percent received a pension plan.14 According to a survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, fewer than 2 percent of domestic workers in 2011 received retirement or pension benefits from their primary employer, and only 4 percent received employer-provided health insurance; 65 percent of domestic workers did not have any health insurance.15 Even today, few realize that before the ride-sharing revolution, the taxi drivers that people used for generations rarely had health-care coverage or qualified for unemployment insurance or any help during downturns and recessions.16 For example, a 2007 study of New York City cabdrivers found they were generally classified as independent contractors—just as Uber and Lyft drivers are now—and did not qualify for overtime pay despite typically working more than seventy hours a week. A large majority lacked health insurance, despite substantial risk of on-the-job injuries.17 These facts may not have been easily captured in traditional job growth statistics or GDP measurements, but they mattered to people’s lives. Here’s another example: neither GDP nor job volume nor median income captures the economic pain felt by millions of working women suffering sexual harassment or sexual violence.

She did not realize she was an independent contractor, and not a traditional employee, until she was eight months pregnant and asked for maternity leave. Not only was she denied maternity leave, but the next day she was fired, and because she was not an employee, she did not have access to unemployment insurance.8 With so much riding on whether you receive a W-2 or a 1099, unions and worker advocates are correct to make the fight over misclassification a top-tier economic battle and insist that millions of gig workers—including most Uber and Lyft drivers—should be classified as employees, as they successfully did in a hard-fought 2019 legislative battle in California.9 This is the right fight under our current structure. Too many workers today get the worst of all worlds. They have neither the true autonomy and flexibility of being their own boss nor the economic benefits and security of being a W-2 employee where at a minimum their employer pays its half of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes and ensures they are part of the unemployment insurance system.


pages: 486 words: 150,849

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, always be closing, American ideology, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Burning Man, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, hive mind, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, Joan Didion, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Picturephone, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Seaside, Florida, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, Wall-E, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, éminence grise

Among those fast-food workers are some of the 3.4 million American cashiers, who are officially distinct from the 4.1 million American retail sales workers—and obviously the great majority of all of them are replaceable sooner rather than later by e-commerce and improved self-checkout machines, known in the industry as “semi-attended customer-activated terminals.” Starting now, retail chains will have a public health argument for replacing workers behind the counters with machines. The most common American job, however, has been driver—the 4 or 5 million FedEx and UPS and tractor-trailer and bus drivers, and the maybe 2 million taxi and Uber and Lyft drivers. During this decade, autonomous vehicles will begin making the 6 or 7 million (potentially infectious) people doing those jobs redundant as well. That debate over whether to blame automation or cheap labor for eliminating U.S. jobs and suppressing wages is continuing to become moot, because robots are replacing foreign workers as well, both here and abroad. Starting in the 1990s, for instance, American customer service operators were replaced by cheaper ones in India and the Philippines and elsewhere—and now the humans abroad and in the United States are being replaced by AI chatbots.

As that second category of workers grew from a minority to the overwhelming majority during the last half of the last century, relatively few of them remained or became successfully unionized—that was left mainly to employees of state and local government, hospitals, hotels, casinos, and show business. As workplaces became smaller and employees more dispersed—or transformed into pseudo-nonemployees, like at Uber and Lyft—the work of organizing workers got harder. But along with the public’s reviving wish for big government to tackle big problems and projects, the organized labor tide may be turning as well. Answering Gallup’s regular binary question in 2019 about approval or disapproval of unions, people were pro-labor by two to one; only a decade ago, the split was about even. And to another annual question about levels of confidence in organized labor, the fraction of Americans with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” is higher today than it’s been in all but one year since the 1980s.


The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

Its new business model was UberX, which adopted Lyft’s model and enrolled nonprofessional drivers who could work as little or as much as they wanted. They would be contractors, not employees. In other words, it’s a BYOC model—Bring Your Own Car. Uber drivers, 60 percent of whom have other jobs, have become prime examples for what became known as the “gig economy.” Both Uber and Lyft also rolled out modern versions of carpooling services that match up a rider with another rider in close proximity headed to nearby destinations. Uber and Lyft rolled forward, opening in city after city. Customers, initially many of them millennials, were quickly won over. In its quest to expand, Uber went to war with local taxicab drivers and owners and transportation regulators, all of whom opposed it as an unregulated taxi company. It called its approach “principled confrontation.”


pages: 207 words: 59,298

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock, Mark Graham

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, global value chain, informal economy, information asymmetry, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, Lyft, mass immigration, means of production, Network effects, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, planetary scale, precariat, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

This resistance is happening within structurally difficult conditions, often in grey areas of legality, or even taking place illegally. This is because, in many locales, the self-employed are not allowed to form trade unions like workers or employees are. In those places, doing so is seen as operating like a price-setting cartel rather than simply providing a means for workers to bargain over their pay. In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce, of which Uber and Lyft are members, has argued in a Seattle court that ‘by allowing drivers to bargain over their pay, which is based on fares received from passengers, the city would permit them to essentially fix prices in violation of federal antitrust law.’10 This measure has been seen as an attempt to prevent the Teamsters from organizing Uber drivers in Seattle. The threats of legal injunctions mean that workers are not only having an effect on the gig economy, but are redefining what organizing and trade unionism mean today.


pages: 215 words: 59,188

Seriously Curious: The Facts and Figures That Turn Our World Upside Down by Tom Standage

agricultural Revolution, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blood diamonds, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, failed state, financial independence, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, invisible hand, job-hopping, Julian Assange, life extension, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mega-rich, megacity, Minecraft, mobile money, natural language processing, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, ransomware, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, South China Sea, speech recognition, stem cell, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks

The death rate from motor accidents in America, around 12 people per 100,000, is more than twice that of western Europe. The grim toll of motor-vehicle deaths is widely seen as unavoidable, given that the United States is a large, sprawling country primarily designed around the automobile. But around a third of these deaths has involved drunk drivers, suggesting that there is, in fact, substantial room for improvement. Indeed, it appears that the advent of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft has had a welcome impact on road safety. According to a working paper by Jessica Lynn Peck of the Graduate Centre at the City University of New York, the arrival of Uber in New York City may have helped reduce alcohol-related traffic accidents by 25–35%, as people opt to hail a ride home after a night out, rather than driving themselves. Uber was first introduced in the city in May 2011, but did not spread through the rest of the state.


pages: 229 words: 61,482

The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial independence, future of work, gig economy, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mass immigration, mental accounting, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, passive income, Paul Graham, remote working, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wage slave, Y Combinator, Zipcar

He calls his proposal “libertarianism with a safety net.”15 Allow Contractors to Collectively Bargain The National Labor Relations Act applies only to employees, thus excluding independent contractors from the ability to bargain collectively. In the past, contractor attempts to unionize and bargain have been thwarted by invoking antitrust laws. The argument is that contractors who collectively bargain to set common rates are essentially colluding, which violates antitrust laws. However, in December 2015, the Seattle City Council voted to extend collective bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers.16 In March, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued the city of Seattle, saying that the ordinance violates antitrust laws.17 California is expected to introduce a similar bill covering independent contractors who work on on-demand platforms. What most of these proposals have in common is that they attempt to improve the current labor market by eliminating an employer’s ability to arbitrage between employees and contractors, and support worker choices about how to work.


pages: 257 words: 64,285

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar

This is an opportunity for efficiency, as drivers, for instance, may be happy to go towards their home near the end of a shift, but not away. On the other hand, that might lead to too few drivers "bidding" on prospective customers. 6. Ride 7. Get out of the Car. 8. Check App to rate the driver. Payment is automatic unless you want to change your payment. 190 Source various, including Oxford Dictionaries http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/taxi 191 Bregman, Susan (2015-04-23) Uber and Lyft claim carpooling success. TheTransitWire.com. http://www.thetransitwire.com/2015/04/23/uber-lyft-claim-carpooling-success/ 192 DeAmicis, Carmel (2015-07-18) How Didi Kuaidi Plans to Destroy Uber in China. Re/Code. http://recode.net/2015/07/18/how-didi-kuaidi-plans-to-destroy-uber-in-china/ 193 A longer discussion of our skepticism is here: Levinson (2014-12-01) "It is a Small Market After All" Transportationist blog. http://transportationist.org/2014/12/01/its-a-small-market-after-all-es-gibt-einen-kleinen-markt-uber-alles/ 194 French, Sally (2015-07-01) "An 8-year-old's take on 'Uber for kids'" MarketWatch https://secure.marketwatch.com/story/an-8-year-olds-take-on-uber-for-kids-2015-07-01 195 Zimmerman, Eilene (2016-04-13) "Ride-Hailing Start-Ups Compete in ‘Uber for Children’ Niche” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/business/smallbusiness/ride-sharing-start-ups-compete-in-uber-for-children-niche.html 196 Hatmaker, Taylor (2014-09-08) "Taxi service by women for women launching in New York."


pages: 288 words: 64,771

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Build a better mousetrap, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, inventory management, invisible hand, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, software patent, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Washington Consensus, white picket fence, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

That ceaseless churn of firm entry and exit is a central element of the innovation process, given that new firms are so frequently the means by which new products and new ideas are introduced to the world. Research shows that surviving new firms are generally more productive than existing firms, while existing firms have higher productivity than those that go out of business. Occupational licensing, by impeding the formation of new businesses, slows down this vital channel of productivity growth. The advent of app-based ridesharing firms like Uber and Lyft, and the furious resistance they often provoke from supporters of the traditional taxicab industry, offer a powerfully vivid illustration of the conflict between occupational licensing and innovation. The quality of taxi services has long been fodder for consumer grumbling, but improvement through competition was thwarted by restrictive taxi licensing and associated anticompetitive regulations.


pages: 345 words: 75,660

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Of course, because experimentation necessarily means making what you will later regard as mistakes, experiments also have costs. You will try foods you don’t like. If you keep trying new foods in the hope of finding some ideal, you are missing out on a lot of good meals. Judgment, whether by deliberation or experimentation, is costly. Knowing Why You Are Doing Something Prediction is at the heart of a move toward self-driving cars and the rise of platforms such as Uber and Lyft: choosing a route between origin and destination. Car navigation devices have been around for a few decades, built into cars themselves or as stand-alone devices. But the proliferation of internet-connected mobile devices has changed the data that providers of navigation software receive. For instance, before Google acquired it, the Israeli startup Waze generated accurate traffic maps by tracking the routes drivers chose.


pages: 300 words: 76,638

The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future by Andrew Yang

3D printing, Airbnb, assortative mating, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, call centre, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, falling living standards, financial deregulation, full employment, future of work, global reserve currency, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Narrative Science, new economy, passive income, performance metric, post-work, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unemployed young men, universal basic income, urban renewal, white flight, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

It is obvious that Tesla trucks will eventually have the same self-driving capabilities as their cars. Other autonomous vehicle companies report similar timelines, with 2020 being the first year of mass adoption. And it’s not just those driving trucks who are at risk. A senior official at one of the major ride-sharing companies told me that their internal projections are that half of their rides will be given by autonomous vehicles by 2022. This has the potential to affect about 300,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in the United States. The replacement of drivers will be one of the most dramatic, visible battlegrounds between automation and the human worker. Companies can eliminate the jobs of call center workers, retail clerks, fast food workers, and the like with minimal violence and fuss. Truck drivers will be different. Right now, the federal government has said that it will allow autonomous vehicles in any states that permit them.


The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis by Tim Lee, Jamie Lee, Kevin Coldiron

active measures, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, debt deflation, distributed ledger, diversification, financial intermediation, Flash crash, global reserve currency, implied volatility, income inequality, inflation targeting, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, negative equity, Network effects, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, risk/return, sharing economy, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, yield curve

But for a period, these established stars can be objectively worse—less attractive, less motivated, delivering a less good performance—than the talented nobodies who are next in line behind them, and yet it will still be rational for the director and producer to prefer to hire the stars. This is what celebrity means. That is what cumulative advantage means. Another example is that of network effects and lock-in in business, economics, and technology: the competition between VHS and Betamax, or between Facebook and Myspace and Friendster, or between Uber and Lyft. Betamax is often considered to have been a better technology, but it lost. Today, a direct competitor to Facebook could never succeed, no matter how much better its technology or design or business plan—because the appeal of a social network is the users who are already there, and those users are on Facebook. If Facebook is ever dethroned (and in time it will be), it will not be by another social network of the same kind, but by something entirely new that makes social networks of that kind irrelevant—which is to say, it will be disrupted.


pages: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Individuals migrate from being employees to “entrepreneurs.” The sharing economy will have great impact in areas where expensive, privately owned assets are underutilized. Automobiles are one such asset. Privately owned automobiles spend as much as 95 percent of their time parked.42 That means the average car is driven approximately nine hours a week. A number of sharing services have emerged with a goal of monetizing those idle hours. Uber and Lyft are already household names. The twentieth-century relic Zipcar is now owned by Avis.43 New aspirants keep emerging. Getaround allows neighbors to rent cars from other neighbors by the hour, while a competing service, Turo, focuses on longer-term rentals.44 Turo’s website claims that owners can cover their monthly car payments by renting their cars for as few as nine days a month. It claims to operate from 4,700 cities, provide owners with liability insurance, and deliver cars directly to their renters.45 BlaBlaCar, a European service, allows its more than 35 million members to locate other members who are going where they want to so they can hitch a ride.46 Looming in the future, when the self-driving car arrives, are driverless types of Uber services.


pages: 291 words: 90,771

Upscale: What It Takes to Scale a Startup. By the People Who've Done It. by James Silver

Airbnb, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, call centre, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, DevOps, family office, future of work, Google Hangouts, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

‘With marketplaces, it’s usually a liquidity metric. The example I’ll give is Airbnb, which is nights booked. So you have a supply side, and you have a demand side. When there’s a successful transaction in the form of night units for Airbnb, that’s the sign of the marketplace working. So anything you do that’s driving up nights booked [or equivalent] is what you want to do for a marketplace. ‘For Uber and Lyft, it’s rides booked. So they don’t say kilometres driven; they could, and then you could incentivise people to do longer rides, but the theory is that ride length is not very elastic, so using these ride-sharing services for more rides is the right reflection of the utility of those apps.’ And while it’s not always immediately obvious what a company’s North Star metric is, says Grol, without knowing it you are going to have a much more challenging time accelerating the growth of your business.


Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, hive mind, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, lone genius, Lyft, megacity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, performance metric, precision agriculture, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed

If driverless trucks become a viable way to transport merchandise from place to place, in a few short years automation may finally be coming to claim trucking jobs as well. Figure 12.2 The most common job in most U.S. states in 2014 was truck driving. Source: National Public Radio Truckers won’t be the only ones whose jobs are taken by driverless vehicles. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs will also find themselves out of work. The profession of taxi driving has already been disrupted by the growing popularity of services such as Uber and Lyft, where anybody with a car can become a cabby. Driverless cars will sound the final death knell to the jobs of roughly 233,700 cabbies and chauffeurs employed in the United States.5 Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, believes that the biggest cost component of running a taxi service is paying the car’s driver. In a talk at a conference, Kalanick said, “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.”6 To develop a car that can drive without a “dude” behind the wheel, Uber has invested $5.5 million to develop driverless-car technology, hiring dozens of robotics researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC).7 Driverless cars will transform other jobs in the gigantic economic value chain that supports the buying, selling, and maintaining of the automobile.


pages: 307 words: 88,180

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee

AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, ImageNet competition, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, pirate software, profit maximization, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Y Combinator

Digital payments cracked open the black box of real-world consumer purchases, giving these companies a precise, real-time data map of consumer behavior. Peer-to-peer transactions added a new layer of social data atop those economic transactions. The country’s bike-sharing revolution has carpeted its cities in IoT transportation devices that color in the texture of urban life. They trace tens of millions of commutes, trips to the store, rides home, and first dates, dwarfing companies like Uber and Lyft in both quantity and granularity of data. The numbers for these categories lay bare the China-U.S. gap in these key industries. Recent estimates have Chinese companies outstripping U.S. competitors ten to one in quantity of food deliveries and fifty to one in spending on mobile payments. China’s e-commerce purchases are roughly double the U.S. totals, and the gap is only growing. Data on total trips through ride-hailing apps is somewhat scarce, but during the height of competition between Uber and Didi, self-reported numbers from the two companies had Didi’s rides in China at four times the total of Uber’s global rides.


pages: 356 words: 91,157

The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class?and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida

affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbine, congestion charging, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Gini coefficient, Google bus, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, megacity, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, Paul Graham, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, superstar cities, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, young professional

It is time to level the playing field for mass transit by reducing the outright subsidy we give to the car in the form of roads and highways. Cities in other parts of the world, including London, have begun to institute congestion charges, which make drivers pay for their use of busy roads to help alleviate traffic, sprawl, and pollution. New developments like self-driving cars, electric vehicles, and on-demand digital delivery systems, such as Uber and Lyft, will certainly play a big role in the city of the future. But we still need mass transit to provide the connective fiber that will increase clustering and enable the development of a larger number of dense, mixed-use clustered neighborhoods that are affordable to more people. Ultimately, this is not about choosing one form of transportation over another. It’s about ensuring we have the infrastructure that can move people around efficiently, create the density and housing affordability we need, and, most of all, help to spur overall economic growth.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

Today’s labour victories, when they occur, tend to come from straightforward issues for which it is easy to muster broad, passionate electoral support: policies such as a rise in the minimum wage or a reduction in immigration. The more complex negotiations that occurred a generation or two ago, when labour had a seat at the political table, tend not to occur any longer. That could change. Drivers for car-sharing firms, such as Uber and Lyft, are battling to unionize. Unionization could eventually come to other sectors of the economy in which large pools of on-demand labour sell their time through market-making apps as well. Unionization would yield uncertain direct benefits to workers within these firms, though. Short-run concessions wrung from ownership might simply accelerate the pace of automation: troublesome labour tends to encourage the deployment of robots, whether the setting is a factory in Shenzhen or a car on California streets.


pages: 372 words: 94,153

More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources – and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee

back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, humanitarian revolution, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Landlord’s Game, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, World Values Survey

Now that we have technologies that let us know where every driver, passenger, piece of cargo, and vehicle is at all times, we can greatly increase the utilization and efficiency of every element of transportation. Renting instead of owning transportation is a likely consequence of this shift. Instead of owning cars, which typically sit idle more than 90 percent of the time, more people will choose to access transportation as needed. We’re already seeing this with car-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. These services are quickly spreading around the world, and expanding to cover more modes of transportation, from motorbikes to bicycles to electric scooters. They’re also moving into commercial applications such as long- and short-haul trucking. As this shift continues, we’ll need fewer tons of steel, aluminum, plastic, gasoline, and other resources to move the world’s people and goods around.


pages: 441 words: 96,534

Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan

autonomous vehicles, bike sharing scheme, Boris Johnson, business cycle, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Enrique Peñalosa, Hyperloop, Induced demand, Jane Jacobs, Loma Prieta earthquake, Lyft, New Urbanism, place-making, self-driving car, sharing economy, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

A future with autonomous vehicles, delivery drones, and unified payment systems is on the near-term horizon. This wave of change has landed on our streets, and these changes will advance how we get around cities and use our streets. A smartphone can eliminate the anxiety of getting around, whether you’re in Boston, Bangalore, or Buenos Aires. But these new apps also pose big questions. While new transportation services like Uber and Lyft (called transportation network companies or TNCs in transport-speak), or shared-vehicle services like Car2Go, Zipcar, and Bridj, are using technology to dramatically lower the operating and entry costs for taxi and car services, they raise questions about social equity, safety, and the true costs of these popular services. Without a regulatory framework, cities could see outcomes that run counter to goals of mobility, sustainability, accessibility, and social equity.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Some do not charge interest but levy a flat fee. A feature of all these companies is that they require full access to their clients’ bank accounts and other personal data, which they use to determine whether to provide loans, what interest rate to charge and for how long to lend. THE PLATFORM DEBT MACHINE The misnamed ‘sharing economy’ is also fostering indebtedness. App-based taxi services, such as Uber and Lyft, have tie-ups with lenders that enable drivers to buy vehicles on credit. Big car companies are becoming involved. In January 2016, General Motors announced a deal with Lyft, under which it would supply rental vehicles to Lyft drivers. In 2015, Ford introduced a pilot scheme in London and six US cities allowing customers buying cars on credit to rent them out through peer-to-peer car rental platform companies.


pages: 348 words: 97,277

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game

The Internet put us on this disintermediating path some time ago, well before the blockchain came along. But it’s worth noting that at the heart of each new Internet application that cuts out some incumbent middleman there has typically been a technology that helps humans deal with their perennial mistrust issues. Who would have thought a decade ago that people would feel comfortable riding in the car of some stranger they’d just discovered on their phones? Well, Uber and Lyft got us over that trust barrier by incorporating a reputation scoring system for both drivers and passengers, one that was only made possible because of the expansion of social networks and communication. Their model showed that if we can resolve our trust issues with technology and give people confidence to transact, those people are willing and able to go into direct exchanges with complete strangers.


pages: 344 words: 96,020

Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, minimum viable product, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional

Or a business in a “winner take all” situation, where it’s likely that one firm will become overwhelmingly dominant (as is often true for network effect businesses such as LinkedIn or WhatsApp), spending a great deal up front to make a land grab and try to lock in dominance may be a brilliant strategy. Or, if a company is running neck and neck with a strong competitor, as is the case with car-service providers Uber and Lyft, there may be no choice but to spend heavily on acquisition efforts. That’s assuming, of course, that the company has the cash on hand to sustain that up-front spending and a solid plan to recoup it down the line. The amount a company should spend on customer acquisition is not a matter of any preordained formula; it’s a function of many variables specific to each company’s business model, competitive situation, and stage of growth.


pages: 411 words: 98,128

Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning From It by Brian Dumaine

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, call centre, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, corporate raider, creative destruction, Danny Hillis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, natural language processing, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

Nor is Amazon content to fully depend on the local post office or delivery companies such as UPS to move their packages over that crucial last mile from the warehouse to the customer. In 2018, Amazon said it would buy twenty thousand Mercedes vans to launch a program whereby entrepreneurs could, with Amazon’s help, start their own local delivery companies. The company also has a program called Amazon Flex that makes it possible for Uber and Lyft drivers to deliver packages. It’s also experimenting with drone deliveries. It made its first such test delivery in England in 2016 when a drone carried an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn to a customer near Cambridge. From the time the customer clicked the buy button to the time the drone landed at his home was only thirteen minutes. As big as they are, UPS and the U.S. Post Office aren’t big enough to handle the surging flood of deliveries.


pages: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

But they seemed not to appreciate that their lifestyle might disturb the quiet equilibrium that had preceded their arrival. With a range of new services catering to their needs, delivered by startups of their peers, the hipsters and bros eventually provoked a reaction. Tangible manifestations of their presence, like the luxury buses that took them to jobs at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other companies down in Silicon Valley, drew protests from peeved locals. An explosion of Uber and Lyft vehicles jammed the city’s streets, dramatically increasing commute times. Insensitive blog posts, inappropriate business behavior, and higher housing costs ensured that locals would neither forgive nor forget. * * * — ZUCK ENJOYED THE KIND OF privileged childhood one would expect for a white male whose parents were medical professionals living in a beautiful suburb. As a student at Harvard, he had the idea for Facebook.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

You are to be the neutral facilitator, the connector, the hub, but never an agent who could be blamed for a decision.”80 Think Airbnb or Amazon or Facebook or Google or Groupon or even Walmart. Think of the management software that Starbucks uses to decide who should work when in thousands of stores. Think of the ever-expanding category of hubs that connect people who want something done with people who are willing to do that job for them. These are task brokers like Fiverr and Taskrabbit, or driver-on-demand apps like Uber and Lyft—low-wage, task-based labor hubs that take a cut of every transaction but don’t take much, if any, responsibility for the estimated seventeen million or so Americans who work at least part time as “independent contributors.”81 These workers who race around walking dogs, hanging pictures, and giving rides to the airport don’t know what work at what wage they’ll have next day or next week. They are hired—or connected to jobs—by companies who say they are not employees, but independent contractors, which conveniently insures that the workers “don’t qualify for employee benefits like health insurance, payroll deductions for Social Security or unemployment benefits.”82 Guy Standing, a labor economist, has dubbed this rapidly expanding class of laborer “the precariat.”83 “These are not jobs, jobs that have any future, jobs that have the possibility of upgrading; this is contingent, arbitrary work,” says Stanley Aronowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

To grab their attention, writers often frame original ideas as a fresh combination of two familiar successes using a “high-concept pitch”—like “It’s Romeo and Juliet on a sinking ship!” (Titanic) or “It’s Toy Story with talking animals!” (The Secret Life of Pets). In Silicon Valley, where venture capitalists also sift through a surfeit of proposals, high-concept pitches are so common that they’re practically a joke. The home rental company Airbnb was once called “eBay for homes.” The on-demand car service companies Uber and Lyft were once considered “Airbnb for cars.” When Uber took off, new start-ups took to branding themselves “Uber for . . .” anything. Creative people often bristle at the suggestion that they have to stoop to market their ideas or dress them in familiar garb. It’s pleasant to think that an idea’s brilliance is self-evident and doesn’t require the theater of marketing. But whether you’re an academic, screenwriter, or entrepreneur, the difference between a brilliant new idea with bad marketing and a mediocre idea with excellent marketing can be the difference between bankruptcy and success.


pages: 379 words: 109,223

Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business by Ken Auletta

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, connected car, corporate raider, crossover SUV, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, Google Glasses, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, NetJets, Network effects, pattern recognition, pets.com, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, éminence grise

They are no longer doing what she thinks “advertising has been doing for a long time, which is guessing.” She dubs this her “customer-centric model.” They chart for clients: What messages worked? What doesn’t work? Who comes to the store? Who doesn’t come to the store? It becomes, she believes, “a game changer.” Using this data, the brand can make changes to improve the customer experience and convenience, as Warby Parker has done for eyeglasses and Uber and Lyft have done for transit. Unless big agencies learn to shed old habits, to move faster, she believes they are in danger of plunging down the same rabbit hole as most newspapers. * * * ■ ■ ■ Big data excites Laura O’Shaughnessy, as it does Irwin Gotlieb, Martin Sorrell, Carolyn Everson, Michael Kassan, and the entire marketing industry and its clients. It alarms Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney and one of eighteen lawyers who work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, whose mission is to repel privacy threats.


pages: 405 words: 112,470

Together by Vivek H. Murthy, M.D.

Airbnb, call centre, cognitive bias, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, gig economy, income inequality, index card, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, stem cell, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft

And my village grew in unexpected ways to include people like the staff at Abe’s Café, where I wrote much of this book, who would often give me an extra serving of my favorite tapioca pearls with an encouraging smile when I was on my tenth hour straight of writing. It also included the babysitters, neighbors, and relatives who stepped in to help care for our children before critical deadlines and Uber and Lyft drivers who frequently offered their takes on the book and some of whose stories are included in these pages. In their own beautiful ways, they reminded me often of the healing power of human connection. We really do need one another. My mother-in-law, Sylvia Chen; father-in-law, Yong-Ming Chen; and sister-in-law, Michelle, put up with many visits that involved me writing endlessly at the dining table or in coffee shops on our visits to see them in California.


pages: 497 words: 123,778

The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, basic income, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, Parag Khanna, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

For a good overview, see Valerio De Stefano, “The Rise of the ‘Just-in-Time Workforce’: On-Demand Work, Crowdwork, and Labor Protection in the ‘Gig-Economy,’” Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal 37, no. 3 (2016): 471–503. Note that even robust political approaches to the regulation of the gig economy, like a recent speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren that was widely portrayed as hostile to Uber and Lyft, seek to regulate rather than to fight these new industries. Elizabeth Warren, “Strengthening the Basic Bargain for Workers in the Modern Economy,” Remarks, New American Annual Conference, May 19, 2016, https://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/2016-5-19_Warren_New_America_Remarks.pdf. 9. Renewing Civic Faith 1. On Germany, see Heidi Tworek, “How Germany Is Tackling Hate Speech,” Foreign Affairs, May 16, 2017, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/germany/2017-05-16/how-germany-tackling-hate-speech; and Bundesrat, “Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Verbesserung der Rechtsdurchsetzung in sozialen Netzwerken (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz-NetzDG)” (Köln: Bundesanzeiger Verlag, 2017), http://www.bundesrat.de/SharedDocs/drucksachen/2017/0301-0400/315-17.pdf?


pages: 402 words: 126,835

The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game

Starting with the economic meltdown and continuing through the recovery, the number of Americans working for contract agencies rose to sixteen million—a faster rate of growth than that of overall employment. Such statistics make clear what reported labor numbers do not: that the economic recovery brought a dramatic rise in temporary contracts (at an average duration of about three months) as well as a growth in independent contractors tied to labor platforms like Uber and Lyft. The pay for these “alternative” gigs typically averages about $17 an hour, compared with the US average of $24.57 an hour. Often they are part time, occasional, or seasonal. In Irving, contract employees working at Amazon received about $8 an hour, minus a portion retained by the employment agency for transportation and check-cashing fees. This meant that their take-home pay sometimes dipped below minimum wage.


pages: 504 words: 129,087

The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America by Charlotte Alter

"side hustle", 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbine, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, ending welfare as we know it, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Hangouts, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job-hopping, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, obamacare, Occupy movement, passive income, pre–internet, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We are the 99%, white picket fence, working poor, Works Progress Administration

All that changed how millennials spent what little money they had. When big purchases such as homes and cars were out of the question, many millennials figured they might as well spend their money on things like specialty cronuts and fancy coffees. They tended to prefer experiences over possessions. And a generation steeped in social networks became increasingly comfortable renting things instead of owning them: millennials rented rides (with Uber and Lyft), rented clothes (through Rent The Runway), and rented labor (through TaskRabbit). They also began to look to the gig economy for side hustles to supplement their meager incomes. By 2018, more than 40 percent of eighteen- to thirty-four-year-olds worked as freelancers. For almost half of the largest generation of workers, the traditional work structure that had defined twentieth-century professional life just wasn’t available anymore.


pages: 431 words: 129,071

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, gig economy, greed is good, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Lyft, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Mother of all demos, Nixon shock, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

We began talking about the role of government, and collective projects for the common good, and it quickly became clear he was deeply sceptical. ‘It’s kind of a weird thing, when people say we need to do things for the common good,’ he said. ‘Tech companies made it so that I could get a ride anywhere in the city for five dollars, door to door, and split it with two people. San Francisco would be impossible without Uber and Lyft. And then the city come here and fine me because people put graffiti on my windows.’ ‘They fine you?’ I said. I could see why that would be annoying. ‘There are times where some of us have said, “Can you imagine where we did an experiment where Google took over what City Hall does now?”’ he said. ‘Just let them have at it and see what they can come up with?’ It seemed clear Berkeley thought that would be an exciting idea, that tech brains were of a different order to the ones the politicians and civil servants carried around in them.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social intelligence, social software, standardized shipping container, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

We have faster supply chains, new approaches to marketing, and peer-to-peer collaborations like Linux and Wikipedia on a massive scale, with many innovative new business models. Blockchain technology will accelerate this process. As the Internet of Things takes hold, these trends will go into hyperdrive. THE FUTURE: FROM UBER TO SUBER We’ve covered a lot of ground in this chapter. Now let’s pull all the strands of innovation together in just one scenario. Consider service aggregators like Uber and Lyft. Uber is an app-based ride-sharing network of drivers who are willing to give other people a lift for a fee. To use Uber, you download the Uber app, create an account, and provide Uber with your credit card information. When you use the app to request a car, it asks you to select the type of car you want and marks your location on a map. The app will keep you posted on the availability and whereabouts of your prospective driver.


pages: 475 words: 134,707

The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health--And How We Must Adapt by Sinan Aral

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, computer vision, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, global pandemic, hive mind, illegal immigration, income inequality, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multi-sided market, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, performance metric, phenotype, recommendation engine, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social software, social web, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra

Consumers who have had either really good or really bad experiences are more motivated to provide ratings. People who have had average experiences aren’t compelled to review them. So ratings oversample good and bad experiences and sample good experiences at a higher rate than bad ones. Another contributing factor occurs when we agree to mutually beneficial outcomes with our transaction partners. For example, a simple trick enables riders and drivers on Uber and Lyft to collude to give each other good ratings. As you’re leaving an Uber, you ask, “Five for five?” meaning “I’ll give you five stars if you return the favor,” a practice that contributes to ratings inflation. Finally, as we saw in our ratings experiment, social influence bias favors positive herding over negative herding. Together, these explanations drive ratings distributions toward the J-curve.


pages: 598 words: 134,339

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, drone strike, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, Ross Ulbricht, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

We used to buy things with cash at a store; now we use credit cards over the Internet. We used to pay with coins at a tollbooth, subway turnstile, or parking meter. Now we use automatic payment systems, such as EZPass, that are connected to our license plate number and credit card. Taxis used to be cash-only. Then we started paying by credit card. Now we’re using our smartphones to access networked taxi systems like Uber and Lyft, which produce data records of the transaction, plus our pickup and drop-off locations. With a few specific exceptions, computers are now everywhere we engage in commerce and most places we engage with our friends. Last year, when my refrigerator broke, the serviceman replaced the computer that controls it. I realized that I had been thinking about the refrigerator backwards: it’s not a refrigerator with a computer, it’s a computer that keeps food cold.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

By the end of 2016, Android phones made up over 80 percent of the global market, and over half of Google’s revenue came from mobile.8 The entry into the phone market was even more profitable for Apple. Ten years after its introduction, over one billion iPhones had been sold worldwide. It was the bestselling consumer product in human history. Having a geolocated, camera-equipped supercomputer in millions of pockets jump-started whole new business categories, such as ride-sharing (Uber and Lyft), local search (Yelp), and short-term rentals (Airbnb). It further spiked the growth of social media, launching born-mobile apps (Instagram, Snapchat) and turning existing networks into even more potent vehicles for advertising and sales. The switch to mobile made Facebook’s user base grow even faster. By 2018, three out of four Americans owned a smartphone.9 With so many addictive morsels right at people’s fingertips, the daily hours spent staring at tiny screens rose so sharply that a new and popular category of apps appeared, reminding users to put their phones down.


pages: 716 words: 192,143

The Enlightened Capitalists by James O'Toole

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, City Beautiful movement, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, desegregation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, end world poverty, equal pay for equal work, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, means of production, Menlo Park, North Sea oil, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Socratic dialogue, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, traveling salesman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, Vanguard fund, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

It is alarming to consider that few of the practices of our enlightened leaders are applicable in a world of hollow virtual corporations. And I have not even mentioned the looming negative effects of automation on tomorrow’s workforce, nor dealt with the problem of foreign outsourcing. And, to offer a specific example, I have failed to examine the consequences for former taxi drivers of the upheaval in their lives caused by the advent of Uber and Lyft. Many of those men and women had been members of long-standing worker cooperatives offering health insurance and a sense of community. Then there is the unsettling fact that most new jobs being created today are in low-paying industries—in hotels, restaurants, and discount retailing—where worker skills are seldom developed and such benefits as health insurance are rare.2 Taken together, these trends threaten to leave countless people in Britain and America without meaningful employment in traditional organizations.


Lonely Planet Iceland by Lonely Planet

Airbnb, banking crisis, capital controls, car-free, carbon footprint, cashless society, centre right, European colonialism, food miles, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Lyft, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, presumed consent, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft

See www.straeto.is for information on routes, fares and timetables. Local bus networks operate in Akureyri, Ísafjörður, and the Reykjanesbær and Eastfjords areas. Taxi Most taxis in Iceland operate in the Reykjavík area, but many of the larger towns also offer services. Outside of Reykjavík, it’s usually wise to prebook. Taxis are metered and can be pricey. Tipping is not expected. At the time of research, there were no Uber and Lyft services in Iceland (yet). Language Behind the Scenes Send Us Your Feedback We love to hear from travellers – your comments keep us on our toes and help make our books better. Our well-travelled team reads every word on what you loved or loathed about this book. Although we cannot reply individually to postal submissions, we always guarantee that your feedback goes straight to the appropriate authors, in time for the next edition.