Uber for X

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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, independent contractor, 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

If SXSW was the high school prom of the startup world, TechCrunch was its cheerleader. The tech blog trumpeted each “Uber for X” app’s arrival with headlines such as: POSTMATES AIMS TO BE THE UBER OF PACKAGES—AND MORE WOULD YOU USE AN UBER FOR LAWNCARE? BLACKJET, THE UBER OF PRIVATE JETS, RELEASES ITS IPHONE APP SO I FLEW IN AN “UBER FOR TINY PLANES” MEET STAT, THE STARTUP THAT WANTS TO BE UBER FOR MEDICAL TRANSPORT Startups made Uber for food. Uber for alcohol. Uber for cleaning. Uber for courier services. Uber for massages. Uber for grocery shopping. Uber for car washes. Even Uber for weed. Uber itself hinted that it would take its business model far beyond transportation: “Uber is a cross between lifestyle and logistics,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told Bloomberg.

March 20, 2016. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lyft-drivers-pay-exclusive/exclusive-lyft-drivers-if-employees-owed-millions-more-court-documents-idUSKCN0WM0NO?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews. 4   Chayka, Kyle. It’s Like Uber for Janitors, with One Huge Difference. Bloomberg. October 9, 2015. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-10-09/it-s-like-uber-for-janitors-with-one-big-difference%0A. 5   Kessler, Sarah. Why a New Generation of Uber for X Businesses Rejected the Uber for X Model. Fast Company. March 29, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3058299/why-a-new-generation-of-on-demand-businesses-rejected-the-uber-model. 6   Scheiber, Noam.

“Lifestyle is gimme what I want and give it to me right now and logistics is physically delivering it to the person that wants it … once you’re delivering cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in 5 minutes.”11 The presumption was that because Uber’s business model worked for calling cars, it could work for any other service, too. By the end of 2013, 13 startups that described themselves as “Uber for” something had raised venture capital, according to TechCrunch’s funding database. And by 2014, New York Magazine would count an astounding number of “Uber for X” startups—14 separate companies—in the laundry category alone. Eventually the true independence of the micro-entrepreneurs these businesses relied upon would be challenged in court; workers who felt exploited rather than emancipated by on-demand labor would complicate an otherwise utopian narrative; and what became known as the “gig economy” would attract attention to the ways in which the rest of the economy was unprepared for the future of work.


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, disinformation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Chrome, income inequality, independent contractor, 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, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

Even companies that emerged at about the same time as Uber, like Airbnb, or preceded Uber, like TaskRabbit, are overshadowed by Uber’s prominence as the face of the sharing economy. For discussion of the “Uber for X” phenomenon, see Nathan Heller, “Is the Gig Economy Working?” New Yorker, May 15, 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/15/is-the-gig-economy-working. 34. Juggernaut, “11 Uber for X Startups That Failed— Are You Making the Same Mistakes?” April 28, 2015, http://nextjuggernaut.com/blog/11-uber-for-x-startups-that-failed-are-you-making-the-same-mistakes/. 35. Aaron Smith, “Gig Work, Online Selling and Home Sharing,” Pew Research Center, November 17, 2016, www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/17/gig-work-online-selling-and-home-sharing/. 36.

Strategically, I used multiple ridehail apps to speak with Uber drivers, which generally works because drivers often start with Uber before they go on to work for additional ridehail employers. Because Uber is a dominant market player, even drivers who have never worked for the company have some knowledge of it or experiences with it. I have also spoken with or interviewed some taxi drivers, especially in cities that are “pre-Uber.” For years, I have also kept up with many online forums for Uber drivers. Toward the end of 2017, the forums I followed had about three hundred thousand members collectively. I’ve spent hours nearly every single day for years reading the text of drivers’ forum posts about their experiences, from anxieties and advice to warnings against passenger scams (like passengers who cancel a trip midway to their destination to try and score a free ride).

Finally, a brief conclusion chapter examines Uber in light of the social changes it has sparked and accelerated. Increasingly, we must come to grips with the reality that as platform companies experiment on us, they may also be exploiting us. This may already trouble users of consumer platforms like Google or Facebook, but the stakes are higher when workers rely on platforms like Uber for their livelihoods. These parallels also demonstrate that even if Uber were to disappear tomorrow, it would leave behind a legacy of important shifts that will shape the worlds of labor, technology, and law for years to come. In that sense, although Uber is the primary focus of this book, it is representative of what is happening in the larger society as well.


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, The future is already here, 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

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." The Daily Dot. http://www.dailydot.com/business/sherides-shetaxis-uber-women-nyc/ 197 Apparently Based on this NPR story (2013-10-24) In Most Every European Country Bikes are Outselling Cars http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/10/24/240493422/in-most-every-european-country-bikes-are-outselling-cars 198 We use the term "bike" to mean the traditional human-powered "bicycle," unless otherwise noted as in e-bike or motor-bike. 199 National Bike Dealers Association (2012) Industry Overview http://nbda.com/articles/industry-overview-2012-pg34.htm 200 ACS numbers are undoubtedly an under-report of bike travel, but the number remains small.

Sadly, we don't expect most of these (or their customers) will survive the revolution. (Update for Second Edition: SpoonRocket and Cherry are no longer with us). There is even a Twitter account [@uber_but_for] mocking such services that auto-retweets posts that say things "like Uber for … ."84 As we will discuss later (Chapter 8), there are lots of "Uber fors …" in the transportation sector. As we also discuss, replacement of many activities by delivery will create demands for new and different out-of-home activities. In the 1980s people mocked the idea of ordering a pizza from a (very large) "car-phone" and then having it delivered to you in your car while moving.

Drivers are already simultaneously on multiple networks, so the expected pickup time doesn't vary much from one app to another. Waze, a subsidiary of Google, is testing a true peer-to-peer, real-time, no payment ride-sharing service. Shuddle, KangaDo, and HopSkipDrive aimed to be the "Uber for kids.”194 (Though Shuddle is now deceased).195 Lift Hero targets seniors. SheTaxis and Chariot for Women aim to be an "Uber for Women."196 Sharing Bikes A recent popular internet meme197 noted that in Europe, bicycles were outselling cars.198 This seemed obvious to us (particularly for Kevin who was rumored at one point to have a quantity of bicycles well into the double digits).


pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, The future is already here, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WeWork, Whole Earth Review, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game

While Uber is well known, the same on-demand “access” model is disrupting dozens of other industries, one after another. In the past few years thousands of entrepreneurs seeking funding have pitched venture capitalists for an “Uber for X,” where X is any business where customers still have to wait. Examples of X include: three different Uber for flowers (Florist Now, ProFlowers, BloomThat), three Uber for laundry, two Uber for lawn mowing (Mowdo, Lawnly), an Uber for tech support (Geekatoo), an Uber for doctor house calls, and three Uber for legal marijuana delivery (Eaze, Canary, Meadow), plus a hundred more. The promise to customers is that you don’t need a lawn mower or washing machine or to pick up flowers, because someone else will do that for you—on your command, at your convenience, in real time—at a price you can’t refuse.

“Software eats everything”: Marc Andreessen, “Why Software Is Eating the World,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011. Toffler called in 1980 the “prosumer”: Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (New York: Bantam, 1984). subscribe to Photoshop: “Subscription Products Boost Adobe Fiscal 2Q Results,” Associated Press, June 16, 2015. Uber for laundry: Jessica Pressler, “‘Let’s, Like, Demolish Laundry,’” New York, May 21, 2014. Uber for doctor house calls: Jennifer Jolly, “An Uber for Doctor House Calls,” New York Times, May 5, 2015. sizable bag rental business: Emily Hamlin Smith, “Where to Rent Designer Handbags, Clothes, Accessories and More,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 12, 2012. phone app, such as M-Pesa: Murithi Mutiga, “Kenya’s Banking Revolution Lights a Fire,” New York Times, January 20, 2014.

The promise to customers is that you don’t need a lawn mower or washing machine or to pick up flowers, because someone else will do that for you—on your command, at your convenience, in real time—at a price you can’t refuse. The Uber-like companies can promise this because, instead of owning a building full of employees, they own some software. All the work is outsourced and performed by freelancers (prosumers) ready to work. The job for Uber for X is to coordinate this decentralized work and make it happen in real time. Even Amazon has gotten into the business of matching pros with joes who need home services (Amazon Home Services), from cleaning or setting up equipment to access to goat grazing for lawns. One reason so much money is flowing into the service frontier is that there are so many more ways to be a service than to be a product.


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, independent contractor, 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

Many digital platforms have a low entry requirement and deliberately recruit as many workers as possible, often to create an oversupply of labour power, and therefore guarantee a steady supply of workers on demand to those who need them. In a world where people are talking about ‘Uber’ as a verb: ‘the Uber for dog walking’, ‘the Uber for doctors’, and even ‘the Uber for drugs’, it is important to understand both the histories and futures of this emerging – and increasingly normalized – model of work. The gig economy naturally has immediate effects on gig workers, but as it develops it will affect work more broadly in profound ways.

As Callum Cant (2019) argues in his book on Deliveroo, the gig economy operates as a capitalist laboratory through which new techniques of management, control, worker exploitation and the extraction of profit are tested and refined. The success of these experiments, then, has much wider implications over the longer term as they are applied to other kinds of work. There are now attempts the world over to introduce the gig economy model into almost every conceivable sector; to create the next Uber for X. As platforms expand into ever more sectors of the economy, we do not yet know which jobs will and will not become Uberized. However, by analysing what preconditions bring the gig economy into being, how the gig economy works, and who it works for, we can get a sense of how the gig economy might look in years to come and what effects might be introduced into other work.

We rather take the position that anyone exchanging labour power for money is a worker irrespective of their actual categorization. And that every worker deserves a set of minimum rights and protections. That said, it seems clear that many workers in the gig economy are misclassified as self-employed: a strategy that clearly offers more benefits to platforms than it does to workers. In the case of Uber, for example, this was supported by the employment judge in the workers’ rights tribunal who stated: ‘The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common “platform” is, to our minds, faintly ridiculous.’3 This contractual outsourcing represents an evolution of a much older trend towards outsourcing.


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, hustle culture, independent contractor, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, San Francisco homelessness, 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, super pumped, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

The name for the unit Droege would run grew out of the way entrepreneurs and investors already talked about the opportunities for other businesses to do in their industries what Uber had done in transportation. “People were calling and telling us their ideas for ‘Uber for everything,’” says Droege. Nothing was off-limits: Uber for dry cleaning, Uber for house painting, and so on. Droege listened, and he also embarked on a months-long study of what specific projects Uber should pursue. He hit on three, which would be grouped under the corporate catchall label of Uber Everything. Given its city network, Uber had a powerful method for testing tangential ideas.

(It didn’t help when Kalanick basically told Uber customers to quit their whining.) Indeed, as Uber grew from phenomenon to an established business, its every move courted controversy. Its maverick reputation quickly gave way to the perception of a company that considered itself above the law. Drivers traveled a relatively short path from loving Uber for the cash it put in their pockets to complaining that Uber was paying them less and denying them the full benefits of employment. (Nearly 400,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts joined a class-action suit against Uber, which Uber agreed to settle for $100 million. A federal judge later rejected the settlement, delaying a resolution of the dispute.)

“We did a deal with AT&T super early,” says Graves, referring to the large carrier known for erratic wireless coverage but at the time the exclusive U.S. distributor of the iPhone. “I think I opened the largest private, nongovernment AT&T account in their history. We had a few hundred thousand phones at some point.” Holidays would prove to be significant inflection points for Uber, for both good and ill, during that first year of operations. Rob Hayes, the seed-round investor from First Round Capital, had a bird’s-eye view of Uber’s early development. For several months in late 2010 the company had moved into his firm’s offices in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Kalanick’s desk was nearby, and the two spoke frequently.


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, hockey-stick growth, hustle culture, impact investing, 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, Shenzhen special economic zone , 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 Bannon, Steve Jobs, super pumped, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, union organizing, upwardly mobile, WeWork, Y Combinator

Plouffe, announcing that you’re going to break the law is not civil,” he said, his hook digging into the mayor’s desk in frustration. “This is not about whether we should have a thoughtful conversation about changing taxi regulations. This is about one company thinking it is above the law.” Novick and Hales had tried to tell Uber for months that the company couldn’t just roll into town and set up shop just because it was ready to do so. The taxi union would have a conniption. Furthermore, there were existing regulations that prevented some of Uber’s services from operating. And since ride-hailing was such a new phenomenon, much of Portland’s existing rules didn’t address the practice—laws for Uber just hadn’t been written yet.

As a Bay Area resident and professional journalist during the past decade, I saw Uber rise to power right in front of me. I witnessed how quickly a transformative idea can change the urban fabric of a city, and how strong personalities can have an outsized effect on shaping the way a startup operates. I began covering Uber for the New York Times in 2014. Those were Uber’s glory days, when Kalanick’s cunning and street-fighting sensibilities helped to outwit competitors, seal billion-dollar financing deals, and make Uber’s global conquest seem inevitable. Just a few years later, Uber was on a collision course with itself, and Kalanick’s leadership had grown into a liability: 2017 turned into one of the worst years of sustained crises for any corporation in the history of Silicon Valley, as Uber suffered blow after self-inflicted blow in full view of the public.

The app shot up in the App Store rankings, especially after it began receiving glowing initial reviews from the press. TechCrunch, now the company’s favorite industry blog, hailed UberCab’s model as innovative and disruptive, something akin to “Airbnb for cars.” Ironically, in just a few years startups would begin to describe themselves as the “Uber for x.” “Choose your car, driver and price and get exactly what you pay for,” as one TechCrunch article by Arrington said. “Help break the back of the taxi medallion evil empire.” Uber couldn’t have phrased it better itself. Word of mouth spread across San Francisco. Those who tried UberCab swore by it.


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, impact investing, income inequality, independent contractor, 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, WeWork, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

Dempsey, Paul Stephen. “Taxi Industry Regulation, Deregulation, and Reregulation: The Paradox of Market Failure.” University of Denver College of Law, Transportation Law Journal 24, no. 1 (1996): 73–120. DePillis, Lydia. “At the Uber for Home Cleaning, Workers Pay a Price for Convenience,” September 10, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/09/10/at-the-uber-for-home-cleaning-workers-pay-a-price-for-convenience/. D’Onfro, Jillian. “Uber CEO Founded The Company Because He Wanted To Be A ‘Baller In San Francisco.’” Business Insider. Accessed May 22, 2015. http://www .businessinsider.com/why-travis-kalanick-founded-uber-2013-11.

One of the most multifaceted and careful is an account by Philadelphia journalist Emily Guendelsberger of her time as an Uber driver.58 After meticulously tracking her own expenses and those of other drivers who shared them with her, she made about $17 per hour gross, and after Uber’s 28% cut and the 19% that went to expenses she ended up with just $9.34 an hour. Uber is not going to end the era of poorly paid cab drivers any time soon. If the pay is really so poor, why do so many people drive for Uber? For those who have a car, driving for Uber is a way of converting that capital into cash; some underestimate the costs involved with full-time driving; for some the flexibility is a boon; for many, driving for Uber offers what taxi driving has offered for years—a job that requires little skill and has a low cost of entry is better than nothing.

The companies’ responses to these events is always to emphasize their rarity, but rare events can change a practice for good. Rates of hitchhiking in the UK, for example, plummeted in the 1990s in the wake of two ­highly-publicized murders, even though the danger to any individual hitchhiker remained very low.23 When an Indian woman sued Uber in India after being raped by her driver, the city of Delhi banned Uber for failing to carry out adequate driver checks. Terrible things happen to people in hotel rooms and taxis too, but there is a mechanism to hold hotels and taxi companies responsible for these events, and that mechanism provides a lever that can improve safety over time. Sharing Economy platforms retreat behind the language of their terms of service agreements to claim that they have no legal responsibility for the events.


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, independent contractor, 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, WeWork, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

Today’s sharing platforms facilitate sharing among people who do not know each other and who do not have friends or connections in common.” http://www.greattransition.org/publication/debating-the-sharing-economy. 13. See, for example, Zimmer’s participation in the “Wheels of Change” panel at the 2014 CityLab conference at http://bcove.me/1i8kqj02. 14. http://www.fastcompany.com/3038635/my-week-with-alfred-a-25-personal-butler. 15. Geoffrey A. Fowler, “There’s an Uber for Everything Now,” May 5, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/theres-an-uber-for-everything-now-1430845789. 16. See TrustMan at http://www.betrustman.com. In the summer of 2015, Mazzella and I, along with others including NYU’s Mareike Moehlmann, started collaborating on an academic study of why people trust each other on the BlaBlaCar platform.

He had dressed up as a Lyft car, using a skillfully constructed cardboard contraption. Three years later, Lyft had raised over a billion dollars in venture capital (including $100 million from the legendary investor Carl Icahn) and was in 60 cities around the United States. Although often in the news because of the bruising battles it has waged with Uber for market share, Lyft projects a decidedly kinder and gentler feel than their larger competitor, even as they have graduated from the giant pink mustaches to a more subtle branding strategy. Their co-founder and president John Zimmer, with whom I have had many fascinating conversations over the years, has famously said that he doesn’t see Lyft as competing with Uber, but rather, as competing with “people driving alone.”13 “For me, personally, it was my interest in hospitality,” Zimmer told me, when I asked him about his motivation for starting Lyft.

(Of course, unlike the original Alfred, as noted by journalist Sarah Kessler in her delightful 2014 article about the challenges of making one’s apartment butler-worthy, this modern-day platform based version is “a butler that doesn’t have to live in your home.”14) And Alfred is just the tip of the on-demand personal service iceberg. In a May 2015 Wall Street Journal article titled “There’s an Uber for Everything,” Geoffrey Fowler describes a subset of the dizzying array of new and narrow personal services, starting with his favorite, Luxe: A marvel of the logistics only possible in a smartphone world, Luxe uses GPS to offer a personal parking valet. It’s magical. When you first get in your car, you open the Luxe app to tell it where you’re going.


pages: 256 words: 79,075

Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth

Airbnb, Berlin Wall, call centre, clockwatching, collective bargaining, congestion charging, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, gig economy, independent contractor, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, Network effects, new economy, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, post-work, profit motive, race to the bottom, reshoring, Silicon Valley, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, working poor, working-age population

I scored an adequate 85 per cent in the exam – the minimum score required was 60 per cent. I had not revised at all, and I really needn’t have done: the test involved no more than some basic map reading and naming the points on a compass as well as the motorways and counties surrounding London. Several companies were offering the topographical test, but you could sit it with Uber for free. This was welcome after I had already shelled out £432 to submit the initial licence application (this included £250 for the licence itself, £56.85 on another DBS check – which to my surprise only took a week this time – and £125 for a private medical at my GP surgery). Once the entire process was complete I was issued with a PCO (Public Carriage Office) licence by TFL.

Meanwhile, DriveNow lets you borrow a BMW from a street near to your home and you drop it off in any legal parking space when you have finished with it. The possibilities are potentially endless. Together with the convenience, such services are almost always much cheaper than the traditional service, whatever that is. A black cab from Westminster Abbey to the Barbican Centre would cost you around £15. I could get you there in my Uber for about £8. What is sometimes forgotten in the binary debate is that the ‘gig’ economy can (at least in theory) be an attractive proposition for workers, too. Or at least it could be if workers had some form of democratic control over the algorithm which dictates so much of their lives. I approached working with the Uber app with a great deal less fear and trepidation than I had had going into some of my previous jobs.

‘The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common “platform” is to our minds faintly ridiculous,’ the tribunal judges said. They added: ‘Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers ... They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.’22 On winning the case, James Farrar immediately submitted a holiday request to Uber for the following week. Uber declined it, however, because it had already lodged an appeal against the ruling. Uber lost this subsequent appeal in late 2017. Yet, at the time of writing, Uber has requested permission to appeal again to the Supreme Court – meaning the case could potentially drag on for several more years before a resolution is reached.23 I had wanted to find out more about the case and James had agreed to meet me at a workmen’s cafe in Guildford.


pages: 460 words: 130,820

The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown, Maureen Farrell

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, cloud computing, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, future of work, gender pay gap, global pandemic, global supply chain, Google Earth, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hockey-stick growth, housing crisis, index fund, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Network effects, new economy, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-oil, railway mania, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, San Francisco homelessness, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, Steve Jobs, super pumped, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

It would decrease congestion (it increased it), make its own self-driving car technology (it’s lagging), and spit out profits (it hasn’t). Those who missed out on pumping money into Uber were desperate to find the next one. A whole breed of startups were branded the Uber of X—on-demand services that arrive within minutes after the touch of an app. There were at least three on-demand car valets, an Uber for laundry called Washio, even an Uber for cookies called Doughbies. Consumers could suddenly request home cleaners with an app, or summon a company to box up and ship a package within minutes—for a nominal fee. The only problem: none of these made any economic sense. They almost all failed, despite gobbling up millions from their investors.

* * * — While the IPO team toiled in the war room, the Neumanns moved the family out east to the Hamptons for the summer. They retreated to their compound in Amagansett and had a constant stream of WeWork employees and outside advisers commuting between headquarters and their house. Many just took Ubers for the journey, which could take up to four hours in summer traffic. Other employees, weary of the lengthy hundred-mile trek, went by helicopter or even seaplane. Using the Uber-for-helicopters startup Blade, they simply charged the flights to their corporate credit cards. Upon arrival in Amagansett, they found two Neumann homes. One was inland, next door to Gwyneth Paltrow’s house, and had a separate cabin where WeWork staff huddled to do work.

The views of Tokyo through the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows combined with the minimalist space gave attendees the sensation they were floating over the city. Rather than have a private celebratory lunch, Son wanted Neumann to meet someone: he brought along Cheng Wei, the CEO of Didi Chuxing. Didi was China’s main ride-hailing company—one that engaged in a bloody territory battle with Uber for China, eventually emerging victorious, causing Uber to sell its operations in the country to Didi. Wei was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Son’s investing largesse. He had already received numerous rounds of funding and was in the middle of conversations with Son about putting $6 billion more into the company.


pages: 324 words: 89,875

Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy by Alex Moazed, Nicholas L. Johnson

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, commoditize, connected car, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, hockey-stick growth, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, jimmy wales, John Gruber, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, platform as a service, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, source of truth, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, white flight, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

Just about every startup these days claims that it’s building a platform. As a tactic to get funding or attention, this trick seems to meet with relative success. But very few of these businesses actually understand the model they are trying to emulate. For example, countless companies have popped up claiming to be the new “Uber for X,” by which they simply mean taking a product or service and making it available “on demand.” (The definition of on demand also is quite pliable—very few “on-demand” companies offer services that will arrive within minutes the way Uber does.) These businesses may get the on-demand part to work, but without the essential business model, they won’t be able to grow as quickly or successfully as Uber has.

One reason this shift hasn’t garnered more attention is that these new companies don’t match our perception of how businesses create value. When looking at traditional companies, we usually measure the hard assets and things that the business can more or less directly control. These factors won’t measure the true value of platforms. With Uber, for example, practically all of the value it creates comes from transactions it facilitates between people who exist outside the company. Its network is what makes the company valuable. The same is true for all platforms. By creating and orchestrating these large networks, platforms are unlocking new, untapped economic and social value.

On Kickstarter, a project’s creators market their projects to consumers in order to bring attention (and contributions) to their campaigns. And on Skype and Snapchat, the producer is the one who initiates communication. In other platforms, the consumer is the one who acts as the catalyst. On Uber, for example, the consumer enters in location information to initiate a ride request. On Amazon, shoppers search for products. And on Tinder, consumers swipe through profiles of potential matches. In each case, one user is the spark that sets the exchange in motion. Consume Once consumers have connected to a platform’s inventory, they can extract value from the platform.


pages: 373 words: 112,822

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, hockey-stick growth, 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, San Francisco homelessness, 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

“You can’t just open a restaurant and say you are going to ignore the health department!” She says that nothing was decided at the meeting and calls it “totally pointless.” But that’s not entirely true. In fact, Uber’s first clash with city regulators likely changed the course of this tale. Garrett Camp had been trying to get his friend Travis Kalanick more involved with Uber for almost two years. From the mad sprint on the morning of Barack Obama’s inauguration to their adventures at South by Southwest in Austin, the Lobby conference in Hawaii, and LeWeb in Paris, Camp had been evangelizing for a world in which luxury cars could be summoned with a tap on a smartphone. That fall Kalanick was working at Uber a few days a week, signing up limo fleets, and leading many conversations with investors, and he did much of the talking in the critical meeting with Hayashi and the other regulators.

Rivals like Sequoia and Battery Ventures, which had considered investing in the round and passed, added their names to the list of everyone who underestimated either the size of the opportunity or the fortitude of its new CEO. “Scour and Red Swoosh were tough,” Gurley says. “All of the sudden, Travis had a little wind at his back. It often felt like he thought he had an obligation to the entrepreneurs’ society of the world to play Uber for all that it was worth.” Kalanick, the combative CEO who had something to prove in the wake of his past business failures, and Gurley, the seasoned investor who intimately understood the benefits and challenges of building an internet marketplace, were a potent combination. With fresh capital in the bank, they agreed, Uber needed to do one thing right away—expand out of San Francisco and into every major city in the world.

Surrounded by three reporters, the officers slapped the stunned driver with $1,650 in fines for driving an unlicensed vehicle in the District and not having proof of insurance on hand, among other infractions. Then they impounded his car for the Martin Luther King Day long weekend. Standing in front of the press, Linton slammed Uber for unleashing regulatory havoc in the city. “What they’re trying to do is be both a taxi and a limousine,” he said. “Under the way the law is written, it just can’t be done.”4 Holt, who had arrived three minutes late to the scene after being alerted by the driver that trouble was afoot, was perplexed.


pages: 349 words: 98,309

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, independent contractor, 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, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, 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

For instance, when Uber dropped uberX rates in New York City by 15 percent in January 2016, the company issued a statement on its website explaining that the price cut had made Uber more affordable for passengers in the five boroughs: “Drivers will feel the benefits of lower prices too—because when demand increases there’s less idle time between trips, and that means more time with a rider in the car. . . . This means higher hourly earnings for drivers. For example when we cut prices in July 2014, the average idle time fell by 42% and average hourly partner earnings increased by 33%.”47 Drivers were split on the rate changes for Uber. For instance, Gerald, a fifty-nine-year-old African American man who began driving for Uber in 2012, saw an immediate drop in his income: “When they reduced that fare back in July by 20 percent—and this is the thing I’m getting with clients as well, ‘Oh, the fare has improved, the tip is included.’ I say, ’No, it’s not, not anymore.’

Rebecca, thirty-four, a TaskRabbit with an advanced degree and a side job as an adjunct instructor at a local college, admitted that she often lied to her mother and friends about her work—telling them that she was temping in an office, not tasking in people’s homes. The embarrassment wasn’t limited to TaskRabbit workers either. Even though I assured participants that their identities would be hidden, one Uber driver emailed me after an interview to reiterate the importance of not mentioning him by name. He explained, “Uber for me is a feeling like ‘when you get really drunk and regret whatever you did last night.’ That’s exactly it. I really don’t want to be associated as an Uber driver at any point of my life. I really don’t want it to come up when people search my name on Google.” Another driver—who had previously worked as a professional gambler—said that his embarrassed wife told him not to tell people that he drove for Uber.

Advertised as the “smart alternative to picking up after your dog,” Pooper was an app-based platform that promised on-demand pickup of excrement for a small monthly fee (see fig. 13). “Users snapped a photo of Fido’s filthy business and someone in a Prius would come by and collect it for you.”2 Hailed as the “Uber for dog poop,” the service promised potential workers the same perks as many other sharing economy services: “Work on your terms. Scoop when you want, earn what you want. Set your own schedule. Scooping with Pooper gives you the freedom to work whenever you want. Scoop as much or as little as you like.”


pages: 285 words: 86,853

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

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, 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, Hacker Conference 1984, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Ian Bogost, 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

The expansion of the interface economy and its dependence on affective labor brings new genres of performance to life: we are very much part of the interface now, contributing to the aesthetic superstructure of computation with our bodies, our minds, and our affect. Five star ratings all around! Yet we do this work as “centaurs” too, depending on the same interface platforms for essential affective cues. The march for “Uber for X” systems that turn various financial and noncommercial arrangements into services for hire brings with it the affective labor of the service economy, but with computation performing crucial pieces of the imaginative work of empathy. Take Uber, for example. The company’s feedback system asks both riders and drivers to rate one another, creating a persistent database of user profiles that allows the company to identify its most compliant and troublesome workers and clients (who can then be passively or actively excluded from future transactions).

As an example, in chapter 4 I discuss Uber’s application interface, with a cartoonish map showing cars roaming the urban grid. Uber depends on abstracting away the complexities, regulations, and established conventions of hailing a cab, turning the hired car experience into a kind of videogame. That mode of abstraction has been so successful that an entire genre of Silicon Valley startups can now be categorized as “Uber for X,” where that X is actually a double abstraction. First, we adapt Uber’s simplifying, free-agent “sharing economy” business model to another economic arena. Then we make all such arenas fungible, a variable X that can stand for any corner of the marketplace where ubiquitous computing and algorithmic services have yet to disrupt the status quo.

Companies like TaskRabbit, Uber, and Airbnb are adapting algorithmic logic to find new efficiencies in lodging, transportation, and personal services, inserting a computational layer of abstraction between consumers and their traditional pathways to services like taxis, hotels, and personal assistants. These companies take the ethos of games like FarmVille and impose their “almost-magic circle” on what was previously considered to be serious business. Uber, for example, presents a simple application interface for its drivers that is deeply reminiscent of open-space driving games like the Grand Theft Auto series (figure 4.2). The company’s opacity about pricing and the percentage of revenue shared with drivers makes it even more like an arbitrary video game where points are handed out according to an algorithm we players only partially understand.


Work in the Future The Automation Revolution-Palgrave MacMillan (2019) by Robert Skidelsky Nan Craig

3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, anti-work, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business cycle, cloud computing, collective bargaining, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, data is the new oil, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, income inequality, independent contractor, informal economy, Internet of things, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, job automation, job polarisation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, post-work, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, working poor

yth #1: Uber Is the Business Model M of the Future The first myth I want to tackle is that Uber is the model for the future of the economy. This is the idea that we are going to see an Uberisation of the economy, whereby more and more firms will take on its business model. We can see this in the numerous new apps and platforms that label themselves as an ‘Uber for X’ in the hopes of having some of Uber’s success pass on to them. Taken to the extremes, we even see an Uber for toilets in the form of Airpnp, which allows users to find publicly shared N. Srnicek (*) Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, London, UK e-mail: nick.srnicek@kcl.ac.uk © The Author(s) 2020 R. Skidelsky, N. Craig (eds.), Work in the Future, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21134-9_14 133 134 N.

The ‘Uberisation’ of the economy is also often taken to mean that Uber’s peculiar employment relationship with its workers will be replicated and expanded across the entire economy. This belief in an expanding Uberisation is a particularly pernicious myth and I will try to explain why. First of all, what is Uber’s business model? They are what I have elsewhere called a ‘lean platform’.1 They aim to be very asset light: they try to own as little as possible. Uber, for instance does not own the cars; they do not have to pay for fuel; they are not responsible for car insurance or maintenance or anything like that. Even in the core of the business, they do not own massive computer servers or anything. Instead, they rent them out from platforms like Amazon Web Services.

This is exactly what a lot of companies have found when they try to bring high-skilled workers onto an Uberised platform: the workers end up going i­ ndependent 1 Srnicek (2016). 14 Two Myths About the Future of the Economy 135 since it makes more economic sense for them. One of the more prominent examples of this is Homejoy, which was a sort of Uber for home cleaning. It collapsed after many of its cleaners decided to leave the platform, because they could make more money elsewhere.2 Growth in the sharing economy and in these lean platforms tends to be premised not on being profitable right now, but on the promise that at some point in the future they will be profitable.


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, independent contractor, 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

The oversupply of workers in particular acts as a real double whammy in so far as income is concerned: because demand for many gig services is relatively insensitive to supply, having too many workers compete for any given task will depress wage rates—and decrease individuals’ chance of finding work, even at the lower price. The very element of manipulating supply by forcing workers constantly to compete against each other for the next task goes a long way towards achieving low wage levels. Uber, for example, has been reported to contact drivers with promises of ‘high demand’ and ‘big weekends’ in particular * * * 60 Lost in the Crowd cities or location. Even the highly skilled are subject to these forces, particu- larly where work can be completed online and is thus open to global com- petition.

In 1849–50, Morning Chronicles metropolitan correspondent Henry Mayhew reported an increasing incidence of ‘kidnapped men’, usually rural or Irish workers, who had been enticed by the sweaters (‘or, more commonly, . . . sweaters’ wives’) with false promises of high income and were subsequently detained with promises of future earning opportunities—or threats of lawsuits against them and their families.22 The gig economy has similarly unlocked new ways of tapping into otherwise idle time through increased labour-market participation for traditionally excluded groups, from immigrant workers to homebound carers. This can make a real and markedly positive difference. Uber, for * * * 78 The Innovation Paradox example, has long been hailed for its creation of new job opportunities in France’s banlieues, the Paris suburbs suffering from persistent structural unemployment.23 Task-app Fiverr similarly boast stories such as ‘How a mom found profes- sional success while staying at home with a newborn’ on its company blog.24 That ‘mom’, Jenn Apgar, first came across the platform whilst browsing a magazine at her doctor’s office: ‘Inside was a tip for teenagers to make extra money over the summer; selling on Fiverr.com.’

This, the tribunal concluded, was ‘inequality of bargaining power at work’.14 It is not only workers who are suing over employee misclassification; when employers fail to pay National Insurance and pension contributions, taxpayers lose out too. In France, social security administrators URSSAF and ACOSS are pursuing Uber for several million euros’ worth of contributions that the platform has refused to pay, insisting that its drivers are but independent contractors.15 Regulators around the world are starting to take notice. A set of interpretative guidelines under the US Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, released by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in the spring of 2015, was widely seen as a warning against independent con- tractor misclassification in the on-demand industry.16 The UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) explicitly reminded delivery service Deliveroo that its drivers had to be paid the legal national minimum wage unless a court or tribunal ruled to the contrary.17 At the time of writing, many cases are still pending or are working their way through the appellate system.


pages: 614 words: 168,545

Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It? by Brett Christophers

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, David Graeber, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Etonian, European colonialism, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, G4S, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, greed is good, haute couture, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, independent contractor, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, light touch regulation, Lyft, manufacturing employment, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, Piper Alpha, precariat, price discrimination, price mechanism, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, risk free rate, Ronald Coase, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, software patent, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, wage slave, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, working-age population, yield curve, you are the product

These apps concretize the wild differences that the global economy currently assigns to the value of different kinds of labor. Some people’s time and effort are worth hundreds of times less than other people’s. The widening gap between the new American aristocracy and everyone else is what drives both the supply and demand of Uber-for-X companies … What the combined efforts of the Uber-for-X companies [have] created is a new form of servant, one distributed through complex markets to thousands of different people. It was Uber, after all, that launched with the idea of becoming ‘everyone’s private driver,’ a chauffeur for all. An unkind summary, then, of the past half decade of the consumer internet: Venture capitalists have subsidized the creation of platforms for low-paying work that deliver on-demand servant services to rich people, while subjecting all parties to increased surveillance.

These distinctions can be clarified by considering how the platform owner makes money in each case. What is the revenue model? For the first three of these platform categories, the revenue usually consists of some form of transaction fee – a ‘tax’, if you like, on the value of the trade that occurs through the platform. Uber, for instance, charges a percentage commission on the ride fare; TaskRabbit takes a percentage commission on the value of performed tasks; Airbnb charges a percentage service fee based on the rental amount; Betfair Exchange charges a percentage commission on winning bets – and so on. Sometimes, this variable fee based on transaction value is supplemented by a fixed charge: Deliveroo, for instance, charges a flat fee per delivery in addition to a percentage commission on the value of the food order.

Anyone with the required technical knowhow, after all, can create a search engine. In principle, the barriers to entry in the digital-platform world are relatively low. If you can create a clever app to link possessors of unmet demand with possessors of spare supply capacity, in either a new market segment – ‘Uber for X’ – or even one containing existing players, you are in business. There are no absolute constraints: no single development licence, single patent, and so on. In what specific respects, then, is monopoly power inherent to platform rentierism? There is now a relatively large body of analysis on this question, and the vast bulk of it points to three critical factors.


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, independent contractor, 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, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

While the dot-com bust placed a pall over investor enthusiasm for internet-based firms, the subsequent decade saw technology firms significantly progressing in terms of the amount of power and capital at their disposal. Since the 2008 crisis, has there been a similar shift? The dominant narrative in the advanced capitalist countries has been one of change. In particular, there has been a renewed focus on the rise of technology: automation, the sharing economy, endless stories about the ‘Uber for X’, and, since around 2010, proclamations about the internet of things. These changes have received labels such as ‘paradigm shift’ from McKinsey1 and ‘fourth industrial revolution’ from the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and, in more ridiculous formulations, have been compared in importance to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.2 We have witnessed a massive proliferation of new terms: the gig economy, the sharing economy, the on-demand economy, the next industrial revolution, the surveillance economy, the app economy, the attention economy, and so on.

With network effects, a tendency towards monopolisation is built into the DNA of platforms: the more numerous the users who interact on a platform, the more valuable the entire platform becomes for each one of them. Network effects, moreover, tend to mean that early advantages become solidified as permanent positions of industry leadership. Platforms also have a unique ability to link together and consolidate multiple network effects. Uber, for instance, benefits from the network effects of more and more drivers as well as from the network effects of more and more riders.2 Leading platforms tend consciously to perpetuate themselves in other ways as well. Advantages in data collection mean that the more activities a firm has access to, the more data it can extract and the more value it can generate from those data, and therefore the more activities it can gain access to.


pages: 387 words: 106,753

Why Startups Fail: A New Roadmap for Entrepreneurial Success by Tom Eisenmann

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, cleantech, conceptual framework, coronavirus, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, fundamental attribution error, gig economy, Hyperloop, income inequality, inventory management, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, nuclear winter, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk/return, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, WeWork, Y Combinator, young professional

These “big bang” startups are often founded by high-profile, charismatic entrepreneurs who can spin up a reality-distortion field to persuade investors, talented employees, and others to help them pursue their “change the world” vision. Theranos fits squarely into this profile. Regardless of whether an entrepreneur pursues a gradual path or a big bang, each of the four ways to expand a startup’s scope comes with pros and cons: Geographic Reach. Many startups are tempted to enter new territories. Uber, for example, launched into city after city in the United States, then followed the same playbook overseas. Investors aiming for a bigger opportunity will pressure an entrepreneur to pursue this strategy. There are other reasons for geographic expansion. Entering another market is much easier when you can leverage the know-how you gained in your earlier markets, as Uber did.

Middle managers start to wonder if senior management really knows what’s going on and what needs to be done—especially since the CEO is spending so much time out of the office, trying to raise more capital. Step 9: Ethical Lapses. Sometimes, the relentless pressure to sustain growth leads entrepreneurs to cut legal, regulatory, or ethical corners. Uber, for example, was accused of encouraging its employees to book and then cancel rides with its rival, Lyft. Zenefits, a licensed health insurance broker, created software that allegedly allowed its new salespeople to cheat on state licensing exams to sustain the startup’s rapid growth. At Fab, however, Goldberg avoided this ethical slippery slope.

Geographic Reach: For further analysis of how and why startups expand geographically, see John O’Farrell, “Building the Global Startup,” Andreessen Horowitz blog, June 17, 2011—the first of a five-part series; and Steve Carpenter, “A Startup’s Guide to International Expansion,” TechCrunch, Dec. 23, 2015. Uber, for example, launched: Olivia Solon, “How Uber Conquers a City in Seven Steps,” The Guardian website, Apr. 12, 2017. The leading online marketplace: Thomas Eisenmann, Allison Ciechanover, and Jeff Huizinga, “thredUP: Think Secondhand First,” HBS case 817083, Dec. 2016; thredUP’s strategy for European entry was described by co-founder/CEO James Reinhart during an HBS class visit in February 2017.


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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, hockey-stick growth, 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

Against that context, platform design should follow the following principles. 1. Start With The Core Value Unit The design of all platforms should start with the core value unit. (see Figure 8a) Start with the unit. When designing Twitter for X, look at what the tweet for X looks like. When building Uber for Y, focus on the equivalent of the ride. What is the unit of supply on the new platform? What will it take for the platform to encourage its repeated and regular production? Start with the core value unit – and build out from there. 2. Build The Core Interaction Around The Core Value Unit In the case of pipes, one starts with the unit and then moves on to designing the process of production and distribution.

Leveraging the 15 questions above, platform builders can design and architect a platform business centered around an interaction. For a platform with multiple interactions, the same process is repeated for the edge interactions after the core interaction has been designed. 2.9 EMERGENCE The Philosophy Of Building Airbnb For X, Uber For Y, Or Twitter For Z Moodswing started as a platform allowing users to express their moods. Its founder called it “Twitter for moods.” It went nowhere for some time, until it found traction among a group of users who started using it to express depression and insecurity. The founder realized that the platform needed to move in a different direction and layered an edge interaction: allowing users to connect to psychology students and practitioners for help.

Apple and Android created ecosystems of developers around their respective platforms to disrupt an entire industry. Increasingly numbers of companies are turning to crowdsourcing to solve problems that they traditionally solved in-house. The user-employee distinction is probably least stark in the case of a host of labor platforms that try to be Uber for X. Platforms like Homejoy, MyClean, and SpoonRocket create ecosystems of contract workers who might as well be employees. While some of these platforms are still negotiating the regulatory structures governing these new business models, many others have already demonstrated the power of producer ecosystems to drive value creation in a networked age.


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, independent contractor, 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

In some cases, the growth of a platform can be facilitated by an effect we call side switching. This occurs when users of one side of the platform join the opposite side—for example, when those who consume goods or services begin to produce goods and services for others to consume. On some platforms, users engage in side switching easily and repeatedly. Uber, for example, recruits new drivers from among its rider pool, just as Airbnb recruits new hosts from among its guest pool. A scalable business model, frictionless entry, and side switching all serve to lubricate network effects. NEGATIVE NETWORK EFFECTS: THEIR CAUSE AND CURE So far, we’ve been focusing on positive network effects.

Facebook’s enormous network effects enabled it to survive this course correction, but for many lesser platforms it might have been fatal. • Instead, when transitioning from free to fee, strive to create new, additional value that justifies the charge. Of course, you must ensure that, if you charge for enhanced quality, you control for it and guarantee it. Critics have assailed Uber for charging a Safe Rides fee to pay for drivers’ background checks and other safety measures while apparently cutting corners on those same steps. • Consider potential monetization strategies when making your initial platform design choices. From the time of launch, a platform should be architected in a manner that affords it control over possible sources of monetization.

Perhaps equally significant, the reputation of online labor platforms has already taken a serious hit in the unofficial “court of public opinion”—as reflected, for example, in more than a million Google results, many from respectable mainstream media outlets, in response to the query “Internet sweatshop.”46 In the long run, public disapproval of business behavior can have a meaningful impact on the value of a company’s brand—which means that the court of public opinion operates, at times, as an unofficial regulatory body that business leaders are wise to heed. Similarly, there are limits to the extent to which labor platforms will be able to evade responsibility for their practices in hiring, screening, training, and supervising workers—even when those workers are technically classified as independent contractors. Uber, for example, has experienced significant criticism for alleged sexual assaults committed by its drivers on passengers.47 At a time when Uber is engaged in a fierce battle over regulation with the traditional taxi industry, it can ill afford the suspicion that its labor practices are shoddy. On a very different front, the emergence of online labor platforms is creating new challenges for regulators tasked with monitoring and measuring the national and local labor markets.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Bitcoin Ponzi scheme, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, independent contractor, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

He assumed I had some inside source, which made me feel pretty savvy, but like most of the freebies around town, the party was openly advertised online. I relied on sites like like Eventbrite and Meetup.com to keep my social calendar full and my expenses down. Yuri was grateful for the invitation. He offered to order an Uber for us, even though the party was less than a mile away. I goaded him into walking. Just as I predicted, we traversed the homeless encampments around Hacker Condo without incident. Contrary to local law and custom, they were poor people, not cannibals. The venue was a forbidding Gothamesque Art Deco tower—the old PacBell building, constructed for the California branch of the national telephone monopoly in its heyday.

A reviewer on HN likened the choice of name to “carrying around a 10 foot sign saying ‘Department of Justice, come and get me!’” (The company later amended its terms of service to clarify that it would comply with law enforcement requests for information, and may keep copies of users’ phone records and text message to that end.) Several startups, like Fleetzen, Ghostruck, and Wagon, launched “Uber for cargo” services to provide uninsured amateur truckers for hire. “Load sizes, damage, loss, personal injury. This is going to be a problem very quickly,” one Fleetzen reviewer wrote. “All of which make this a great opportunity,” another replied. Uber, of course, already had plans to break into trucking.

“They’re here because Uber is buying them lunch,” the cabbie told me. He was riled up. “I don’t mind competing with Uber in a fair fight. They just don’t want to pay for licensing and insurance. It’s not hard to get. Any idiot can do it. They just don’t want to pay,” he said. Cabbies weren’t the only workers caught in this bind. Most of the startups pitched as “Uber for X” boiled down to “Cheaper Labor for X,” and they had the same effect of depressing wages across an industry, just as the VC money Uber used to subsidize its cheap fares undercut taxi drivers who hoped to earn a decent wage. That angry cabbie was my muse. His problem was the solution I’d been searching for.


pages: 316 words: 87,486

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American ideology, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Burning Man, centre right, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, full employment, George Gilder, gig economy, Gini coefficient, income inequality, independent contractor, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral panic, mortgage debt, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Republic of Letters, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, union organizing, urban decay, WeWork, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Of the companies that are poised to profit on this coming war of all against all, Uber is the most famous; as I have mentioned, it invites each of us to spend our spare time as hacks for hire. But with the magic of innovation, virtually any field can join the race to the bottom. There’s LawTrades, a sort of Uber for lawyers, and HouseCall, an Uber for “home service professionals.” Everyone’s favorite is something called TaskRabbit, which allows people to farm out odd jobs to random day laborers, whom the app encourages you to imagine as cute, harmless bunnies. “Crowdworking” is the most startling variation on the theme, a scheme that allows anyone, anywhere to perform tiny digital tasks in exchange for extremely low pay.

11 David Plouffe, Obama’s great people-mobilizer, now sells the freelance taxi app Uber with the same workerist pitch he once used to sell Obama: as the solution to the recession. “There are still too many people who aren’t feeling the full effects of [the] recovery, and too many people who are still looking for work,” he said in a speech at a Washington incubator in 2015. But Uber, for whom anyone could sign up and drive, is “making a real and growing difference when it comes to the challenges of wage stagnation and underemployment.”12 During a talk at South by Southwest in 2014, Eric Schmidt lamented the effects of growing inequality on places like San Francisco, where the cost of living has ascended out of most people’s reach, but he declared that the solutions “all involve creating more fast-growing startups.”


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, algorithmic bias, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, 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, independent contractor, 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, 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, the strength of weak ties, 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

siteedition=uk#axzz3QsbvnchO. 190 “BlaBlaCar drivers don’t make a profit”: Laura Wagner, “What Does French Ride-Sharing Company BlaBlaCar Have That Uber Doesn’t,” Two-Way, September 16, 2015, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/16/440919462/what-has-french-ride-sharing-company-blablacar-got-that-uber-doesnt. 190 the average BlaBlaCar trip is 200 miles: “BlaBlaCar: Something to Chat About,” Economist, October 22, 2015, http://www.economist.com/news/business/21676816-16-billion-french-startup-revs-up-something-chat-about. 191 operating in twenty-one countries: BlaBlaCar, accessed February 5, 2017, https://www.blablacar.com. 191 facilitating over 10 million rides every quarter: Rawn Shah, “Driving Ridesharing Success at BlaBlaCar with Online Community,” Forbes, February 21, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/rawnshah/2016/02/21/driving-ridesharing-success-at-blablacar-with-online-community/#5271e05b79a6. 191 $550 million in investor funding: Yoolim Lee, “Go-Jek Raises Over $550 Million in KKR, Warburg-Led Round,” Bloomberg, last modified August 5, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-04/go-jek-said-to-raise-over-550-million-in-kkr-warburg-led-round. 191 $15: Steven Millward, “China’s Top ‘Uber for Laundry’ Startup Cleans Up with $100M Series B Funding,” Tech in Asia, August 7, 2015, https://www.techinasia.com/china-uber-for-laundry-edaixi-100-million-funding. 191 100,000 orders per day: Emma Lee, “Tencent-Backed Laundry App Edaixi Nabs $100M USD from Baidu,” TechNode, August 6, 2015, http://technode.com/2015/08/06/edaixi-series-b. 191 twenty-eight cities with a combined 110 million residents: Edaixi, accessed February 5, 2017, http://www.edaixi.com/home/about.

We like this shorthand because it captures the heart of the phenomenon: the spread from the online world to the offline world of network effects, bundles of complements, and at least some of the economics of free, perfect, and instant. By the end of 2016, O2O platforms existed in a wide range of industries: Lyft and Uber for urban transportation, Airbnb for lodging, Grubhub and Caviar for food delivery, Honor for in-home health care, and many others. All of these companies are working to productively (and eventually profitably) bring together the economics of bits with those of atoms. Very often the physical inventory being offered on these platforms is perishable, as with spaces in exercise studios or nights of lodging, but sometimes it’s not.

.§ In addition, TNCs typically keep detailed records of each trip, using data from phones’ GPS sensors. These simple steps replace ignorance with knowledge. Even though this knowledge is imperfect, it’s still hugely valuable both for individuals and for the platform itself, since it provides much-needed symmetry. And the TNCs continue to experiment and innovate. Uber, for example, was by early 2017 conducting spot checks by asking drivers to periodically take “selfie” photos. The company compared them to the pictures on file to make sure that the approved person was, in fact, driving the car. The economists Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok highlight online user reviews of platforms and other products as examples of a broad reduction in information asymmetries.


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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, Hacker Conference 1984, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, 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 Bannon, 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, you are the product, young professional

Even Xerox thought it was getting a lucrative piece (100,000 shares) of Apple, one of the world’s hottest tech companies, for simply letting Steve Jobs look behind “its kimono.”12 You could say these wounds were self-inflicted. Aspirational horsemen always show a willingness to go to market in ways unavailable to their old-guard competition. Uber, for example, operates in blatant contravention of the law in many, perhaps just about all, of its markets. It has been banned in Germany; Uber drivers are fined in France (but Uber pays the fines);13 and various U.S. jurisdictions have ordered Uber to cease operations.14 And yet, investors—including governments—are lining up to hand the company billions.

In sum, LinkedIn is the Bruce Jenner of this analysis: a great athlete who did a lot of things well . . . after all, Bruce won an Olympic gold medal for the decathlon, and was on the box of the Wheaties I ate in elementary school (sorry, Caitlyn, you’ll always be Bruce to me). But Jenner was never a gold medalist in any of those individual sports. He was, to use an old phrase, “A Jack (now Jill) of all trades, but master of none.” Airbnb It would be tempting to say Airbnb is the Uber for hotels, and move to the next candidate. However, there are stark differences that illuminate Airbnb’s competitive strength, relative to Uber, and how the T Algorithm can be used to influence strategy and capital allocation. While they both are global and enjoy access to cheap capital, their product has substantially different variance.


pages: 296 words: 83,254

After the Gig: How the Sharing Economy Got Hijacked and How to Win It Back by Juliet Schor, William Attwood-Charles, Mehmet Cansoy

1960s counterculture, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, carbon footprint, cleantech, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, future of work, George Gilder, gig economy, global supply chain, global village, haute cuisine, income inequality, independent contractor, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, mass incarceration, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer rental, Post-Keynesian economics, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, wage slave, walking around money, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, working poor, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

In 2010 three Harvard Business School students went ahead with the P2P model anyway and started RelayRides.29 We Are the “Uber of X” Within a few years startups were being founded at a frenzied pace, with many describing themselves as “the Uber of x.”30 Investors poured an astonishing $23 billion into the sector between 2010 and 2017.31 Researchers began predicting that Uberization “might replace the modern corporation.”32 One journalist cataloged 105 American “Uber for x’s” founded between 2009 and 2019.33 Transportation sites offered real-time ridesharing (with drivers who were making trips for their own purposes rather than to earn), jitney services, and apps that promised to treat drivers better than Uber and Lyft. Peer-to-peer rental schemes emerged for boats, airplanes, bicycles, and cars left at airports while their owners were traveling.

The Federal Trade Commission convened a workshop in 2015 to discuss the sector. The ensuing report began with an approving nod to Josef Schumpeter’s concept of the “gale of creative destruction” on account of the benefits that these “disruptive” entities will bring to consumers.38 While the FTC did subsequently bring charges against Uber for overstating drivers’ earnings and exposing consumers’ data, it has defined its oversight role narrowly.39 Perhaps most important, it has not strayed from well-worn approaches to conventional companies, meaning that the unique issues raised by digital firms have so far gone unaddressed. What’s Special about Regulating Digital Platforms Two regulatory issues are particularly salient in the case of digital platforms: market power and the role of data.


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, algorithmic bias, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, backpropagation, 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, disinformation, 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, hockey-stick growth, HyperCard, Ian Bogost, 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!, WeWork, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

anything else for you: Steven Overly, “Washio Picks Up Your Dirty Laundry, Dry Cleaning with the Tap of an App,” Washington Post, January 30, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/washio-picks-up-your-dirty-laundry-dry-cleaning-with-the-tap-of-an-app/2014/01/29/08509ae4-8865-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html; Steven Bertoni, “Handybook Wants to Be the Uber for Your Household Chores,” Forbes, March 26, 2014, https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2014/03/26/handybook-wants-to-be-the-uber-for-your-household-chores/#221628987fa9; Brittain Ladd, “The Trojan Horse: Will Instacart Become a Competitor of the Grocery Retailers It Serves?,” Forbes, July 1, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brittainladd/2018/07/01/__trashed-2/#7cc74ef1e4d1; Ken Yeung, “TaskRabbit’s App Update Focuses on Getting Tasks Done in under 90 Minutes,” VentureBeat, March 1, 2016, https://venturebeat.com/2016/03/01/taskrabbits-app-update-focuses-on-getting-tasks-done-in-under-90-minutes; all accessed August 18, 2018.

When Fowler continued to complain about how female employees were treated, HR officials struck back in a creepy fashion—demanding the personal email addresses the women used, implying the women were part of a conspiracy, and telling Fowler that “people of certain genders and ethnic backgrounds” may not be suited for coding jobs. About a week after that, Fowler fled Uber for a new job. She wrote her story up on the blog post, but, hey: Another blog post complaining about sexism in the valley? What impact could that have? A huge one, it turns out. Uber’s board had already been hit with years of bad press about its employees’ behavior. Employees had used a “God View” internal mapping tool to help ex-boyfriends stalk their ex-girlfriends; a senior executive had threatened to send private investigators after a female journalist.


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, algorithmic bias, 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, disinformation, 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, independent contractor, 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 Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, surveillance capitalism, 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, WeWork, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Jawbone had to turn to the Kuwait Investment Authority for cash just to stay afloat, never a good sign, given that sovereign wealth funds are not exactly the smart money in Silicon Valley.20 They tend to come in big but late, offering loads of cash when others will not, or when start-ups want to inflate their valuations prior to an IPO. Indeed, many of the Big Tech platform firms that took money from the Middle East have come to regret it. Uber, for example, which received funding from the Saudi government, went to great pains to distance itself from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the autocrat accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (a charge that he naturally denies), by awkwardly pulling out of a Saudi investment conference known as “Davos in the Desert” (along with a number of other high-profile U.S. businesspeople) right after that horror broke.

But, if you follow the money long enough, it will lead you straight through the revolving door between Washington and Silicon Valley, whereby Google, Facebook, and others regularly hire influential former government officials who then move in and out of business and policy circles, pushing tech-friendly notions like the idea that privacy is somehow a civil liberty infringement, or that cheaper prices should be the key metric for consumer goods, or that addictive technologies are actually good for kids. Google isn’t the only firm with a revolving door, though it has had a substantial one over the past few years. Plenty of other tech companies have aspired to this sort of influence. Uber, for example, hired David Plouffe, the man who helped Barack Obama reach the White House, to run its communications and political work in 2014. Following Plouffe’s hiring, Uber picked up better lobbyists, academic research to back up its positions, and an endorsement from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.16 Facebook, too, has hired dozens of former politicos to join its lobbying operations, including Jeff Sessions’s former legislative director Sandy Luff, Nancy Pelosi’s former chief of staff Catlin O’Neill, and longtime John Boehner aide Gary Maurer.


pages: 119 words: 36,128

Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed by Laurie Kilmartin

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, call centre, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Uber for X

One day, he will log on to Ancestry.com and see that he is descended from a long line of men who liked gang bangs. If you don’t have a son, how about a son-in-law? You gave your daughter away to him, he feels even worse about his porn. No son-in-law? No problem. Time for TaskRabbit. (Task-Rabbit is like Uber, for chores.) Open the app and search for “handyman services.” Then, let “Harry S” be your son for the day. When he arrives 15 minutes later (oh boy, this is already sounding like a porn movie), tell him “five stars” if he gets rid of everything. Is there any handier man than one who removes incriminating evidence AND doesn’t know your last name?


pages: 309 words: 114,984

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Glasses, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Internet of things, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, lifelogging, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, pets.com, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The future is already here, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra

In the “Health 2.0” office near San Francisco’s CalTrain station, a London-born healthcare impresario named Matthew Holt and his staff spend their days analyzing healthcare IT start-ups for a series of publications and conferences that they produce. In the corner of the obligatory whiteboard in the cramped office, I noticed a list of companies under a heading that read, “Uber for Healthcare.” I asked Holt about it. In his charming accent, he said, “We’re running an office pool. To make the list, either a company has to say that they are ‘Uber for Healthcare’ or they have to have the word ‘Uber’ in their title.” On the day I visited, there were 12 companies that qualified, which gave Holt a narrow lead in his office sweepstakes. Notwithstanding the hype and the easy-to-mock sense of cool, one has to admit that hanging around in this ecosystem (another favorite Silicon Valley word) is exhilarating.


pages: 430 words: 135,418

Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century by Tim Higgins

air freight, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, call centre, Colonization of Mars, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, family office, global pandemic, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, low earth orbit, Lyft, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, paypal mafia, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft

One aide wrote a memo analyzing the situation: “Media continue to cover E’s tweet, with some stories mentioning that the ‘outburst’ comes ‘just a week after he said in a Bloomberg interview that he would try to be less combative on Twitter.’ ” It went on to say that a number of investors and analysts “believe his comments are adding to their concerns that he’s distracted from Tesla’s main business.” A Reuters opinion piece summarized the dilemma that Tesla’s board of directors faced: “Firing him for his ‘pedo guy’ tweet could precipitate a crisis of confidence among investors. Unlike the eventual ouster of [CEO] Travis Kalanick at then–privately held Uber, for a capital-hungry public company that might prove terminal. Directors should consider stripping him of either the chairman or chief executive title.” Early the next morning, July 17, Teller, the thirty-two-year-old chief of staff, tried to reason with Musk, saying it was time to apologize. He told him that he had talked with all of the people Musk held in deep regard—board member Antonio Gracias, CFO Deepak Ahuja, general counsel Todd Maron (his former divorce lawyer), and others—and they all agreed that an apology and a break from Twitter “sets you back on the right path internally and externally.”

In theory, it would save money on having to expand delivery centers; in practice it would require an army of people to physically take the vehicles to customers. There was no way they were ready yet to do 20,000 home deliveries. Kim, who had worked to improve the online buying process, turned to members of his sales staff who had worked at Amazon and Uber, for their expertise in tracking packages and hiring gig workers. Musk wanted cars delivered in covered trucks. Kim and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen huddled to develop the look of the carriers until it became clear it would be too costly and take too much time. Instead, Kim proposed to Musk that employees simply drive cars to buyers’ homes and hand over the keys.


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 is already here, 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

According to the American Trucking Associations, in 2010 approximately 3 million truck drivers were employed in the United States, and 6.8 million others were employed in jobs relating to trucking activity, including manufacturing trucks, servicing trucks, and other types of jobs.12 So roughly one of every fifteen workers in the country is employed in the trucking business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly another 300,000 people work as taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Those numbers would probably swell considerably if they included the new wave of part-time drivers. Uber, for example, claims over 14,000 cars in New York City alone. For the near future, job growth in these industries is quite strong. But over time, driverless vehicles would mean the loss of close to 5 million jobs to the robots, with no obvious replacement jobs in sight. And even though it is a near certainty that replacing human-directed vehicles with self-driving vehicles would reduce casualties, we already know that humans are more likely to blame robots when things go wrong but less likely to credit them for improvements.


pages: 569 words: 156,139

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, air freight, Airbnb, Amazon Picking Challenge, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business climate, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, computer vision, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, disinformation, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, future of work, global pandemic, income inequality, independent contractor, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, private space industry, quantitative hedge fund, remote working, RFID, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Uber for X, union organizing, WeWork

Here’s the Letter He Wrote to Jeff Bezos,” ProPublica, October 11, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/his-mother-was-killed-by-a-van-making-amazon-deliveries-heres-the-letter-he-wrote-to-jeff-bezos (January 24. 2021). Uber-like delivery service called Amazon Flex: Jacob Demmitt, “Confirmed: Amazon Flex Officially Launches, and It’s Like Uber for Package Delivery,” GeekWire, September 29, 2015, https://www.geekwire.com/2015/confirmed-amazon-flex-officially-launches-and-its-like-uber-for-package-delivery/ (January 24, 2021). talked to thirteen pilots who worked for Amazon’s airlines: Rachel Premack, “The Family of a Pilot Who Died in This Year’s Amazon Air Fatal Crash Is Suing Amazon and Cargo Contractors Claiming Poor Safety Standards,” Business Insider, September 19, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-atlas-air-fatal-crash-pilots-sue-2019-9 (January 24, 2021).


pages: 394 words: 57,287

Unleashed by Anne Morriss, Frances Frei

"side hustle", Airbnb, Donald Trump, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Jeff Bezos, Netflix Prize, Network effects, performance metric, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, super pumped, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, WeWork, women in the workforce

David Gelles, “Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit on Being a Black Woman in Silicon Valley,” New York Times, July 13, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/business/stacy-brown-philpot-taskrabbit-corner-office.html. 18. David Lee, “On the Record: TaskRabbit’s Stacy Brown-Philpot,” BBC News, September 15, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49684677. 19. Casey Newton, “TaskRabbit Is Blowing Up Its Business Model and Becoming the Uber for Everything,” The Verge, June 17, 2014, https://www.theverge.com/2014/6/17/5816254/taskrabbit-blows-up-its-auction-house-to-offer-services-on-demand. 20. Lee, “On the Record: TaskRabbit’s Stacy Brown-Philpot.” 21. James K. Willcox, “Cable TV Fees Continue to Climb,” Consumer Reports, October 15, 2019, https://www.consumerreports.org/tv-service/cable-tv-fees/. 22.


pages: 206 words: 60,587

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau

"side hustle", Airbnb, buy low sell high, inventory management, Lyft, passive income, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, Uber for X, uber lyft

In doing the interviews for my daily Side Hustle School podcast, I’ve heard stories upon stories of how people started before they were ready. • A self-published romance novelist presells the next book in a series before writing it • A mom creates a “Stressed Mommy” line of private label wine, without knowing anything about the wine industry • Two friends start an “Uber for Lawncare” hustle with the goal of serving lawn care professionals, figuring it out as they go along (they end up making more than $1 million a year) All these examples reinforce a guiding lesson of this whole book: “Done is better than perfect.” Not sure exactly how to handle a coaching session?


The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture From a Journey of 71 Million Miles by Astronaut Ron Garan, Muhammad Yunus

Airbnb, barriers to entry, book scanning, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, global village, Google Earth, Indoor air pollution, jimmy wales, low earth orbit, optical character recognition, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, Stephen Hawking, transaction costs, Turing test, Uber for X, web of trust

In both cases, trust leads to the belief that each side will do what they say, provide what they promise, and not take advantage of the other. Provisional trust was not really an option in the early days of the space program, but applications are arising today that make provisional trust possible. Uber, for instance, is a ridesharing platform that pairs drivers of private cars with passengers looking for a ride. Uber can locate a passenger and find the nearest available car. The app also offers information about the driver and details about the car. It certifies that others have ridden in a particular car, that they were safe and comfortable, that they gave the driver a good rating, and that the company has done some level of filtering.


pages: 190 words: 59,892

How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by Jimmy O. Yang

call centre, hacker house, Silicon Valley, Uber for X, Vanguard fund

Jane’s joyous tone suddenly turned heavy, but she knew I was making the right decision. “Let me call Yahoo. Let me see what I can do.” When she hung up, I started second-guessing everything I’d just said. Was that the right decision? What if I lose out on Sin City Saints and Silicon Valley doesn’t call me back? Am I going to be driving Uber for eternity? My stress level went into overdrive. I didn’t know what to do, so I left my apartment and just started walking in a random direction. Twenty minutes into my stress wandering, Jane finally called back. I picked up on the first ring. “Hello!” “Jimmy, Yahoo wouldn’t budge on the exclusivity.


pages: 232 words: 63,846

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares

Airbnb, Firefox, if you build it, they will come, jimmy wales, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, side project, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, the payments system, Uber for X, web application, working poor, Y Combinator

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, we’re sure you’ve seen your friends liking articles on other sites, playing songs on Spotify, or pinning content on Pinterest. It is instructive to think about how each of these types could possibly apply to your product or service. You can combine them as well. In fact, when you can get multiple forms working together, your viral loops will be that much stronger. Take Uber for example. Riding in a cab is often something you do with another person, meaning every new usage could demonstrate the product to a potential new customer. This is a form of inherent virality because people naturally find themselves together when taking an Uber. It also has parts of collaborative and incentivized virality because it is often useful to take an Uber together, both logistically and financially.


pages: 237 words: 67,154

Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet by Trebor Scholz, Nathan Schneider

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, capital controls, citizen journalism, collaborative economy, collaborative editing, collective bargaining, commoditize, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, deskilling, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, future of work, gig economy, Google bus, hiring and firing, income inequality, independent contractor, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer, post-work, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, SETI@home, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Yochai Benkler, Zipcar

The strategy of these powerful algorithmic institutions is to enter a variety of economic sectors rapidly and disrupt current industries. By controlling their digital ecosystems, they can turn everything into a productive asset, and every transaction can become an auction where they set the bidding and pricing rules. Platforms are also increasingly transforming the labor market. Uber, for instance, does not own cars and doesn’t employ drivers; it regards its workers as independent contractors. In this way, the company externalizes most costs to workers, eliminating collective bargaining and implementing intrusive data-driven mechanisms of reputation and rankings to reduce transaction costs (for the company).


pages: 254 words: 69,276

The Metric Society: On the Quantification of the Social by Steffen Mau

Airbnb, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, connected car, crowdsourcing, double entry bookkeeping, future of work, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, mittelstand, moral hazard, personalized medicine, positional goods, principal–agent problem, profit motive, QR code, reserve currency, school choice, selection bias, sharing economy, smart cities, the scientific method, the strength of weak ties, Uber for X, web of trust, Wolfgang Streeck

Since then, grading, scoring or colour-coding have become commonplace techniques for measuring performance, with many companies requiring line managers to divide their staff into performance categories – sometimes based on Welch-style fixed quotas – which can determine remuneration, promotion or even further employment. Amazon and numerous other internet companies rely on internal rankings as a basis for dismissal or promotion decisions. While this can be positively construed as part of ‘competitive corporate culture’, it also has echoes of social Darwinism. The private taxi service Uber, for instance, has an internal rule whereby drivers with an average customer rating of less than 4.6 (on a scale from 0 to 5 stars) risk being ‘deactivated’ by the company. Or, less euphemistically, they may not get any more jobs. Advocates of these types of quantitative evaluation see them as an important stimulus, arguing that assessment loops are essential in bringing about improvements, fulfilling expectations, realizing potential and focusing efforts.


pages: 218 words: 68,648

Confessions of a Crypto Millionaire: My Unlikely Escape From Corporate America by Dan Conway

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, basic income, Bear Stearns, bitcoin, blockchain, buy and hold, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, financial independence, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, independent contractor, job satisfaction, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, rent control, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Steve Jobs, supercomputer in your pocket, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing complete, Uber for X, universal basic income, upwardly mobile

They said cryptocurrency would democratize access to fine art by utilizing blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Paragon, which was founded by a Russian multi-millionaire tech mogul and his wife, a former Miss Iowa, was launching a token for cannabis. The rapper The Game was on their advisory board. Skedaddle was planning an ICO to launch “Uber for buses.” Fishweight.net created an app “by fisherman for fisherman,” which would track the size and weight of the fish they catch. Heads Up 7 (“By Millennials—For Millennials” … strike one) wanted to create “a live-streaming platform where everybody can make money.” A service that shamelessly stated they grab expired domains, called dropcatching, wanted to pump it up with some ICO money.


pages: 230 words: 76,655

Choose Yourself! by James Altucher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, cashless society, cognitive bias, dark matter, Elon Musk, estate planning, John Bogle, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, superconnector, Uber for X, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Zipcar

I value convenient travel. I don’t try to save. I fly business class whenever I travel. First class is a scam (not much difference between the two other than the prices). I try to stay in AirBnBs instead of hotels, because why pay the same price for a room that I can pay for a five-bedroom brownstone? I use Uber for a car service so I don’t have to wait in the cold for a cab. I use Zipcar instead of rental car agencies because Zipcars (or Cars2Go) are everywhere and require zero paperwork. I hate paperwork or waiting on line. (Does anyone like either of those things?). I’m going to repeat this: I buy experiences and not things.


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The future is already here, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

He fears that the spirit of innovation and enterprise has gone out of the place, and bemoans the absence of technologists or entrepreneurs today with the stature of past greats like Doug Engelbart (inventor of the computer mouse and much more), Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. He argues that today’s entrepreneurs are mere copycats, trying to peddle the next “Uber for X”. He admits that the pace of technological development might pick up again, perhaps thanks to research into meta-materials, whose structure absorbs, bends or enhances electromagnetic waves in exotic ways. He is dismissive of artificial intelligence because it has not yet produced a conscious mind, but he thinks that augmented reality might turn out to be a new platform for innovation, just as the smartphone did a decade ago.


pages: 268 words: 74,724

Who Needs the Fed?: What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America's Central Bank by John Tamny

Airbnb, bank run, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Money creation, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, NetJets, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, War on Poverty, yield curve

Kohli borrowed money from the fund, always made her payments on time, and, having built a credit score through the fund, was ultimately able to build a credit rating for herself that made it possible for her to engage in traditional borrowing.5 Moving to the for-profit space, consider Lending Club. It bills itself as “the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors.” Call it Uber for lending. As of this writing, the Club has lent more than $11 billion dollars to individuals and businesses in need of credit. It offers personal loans up to $35,000 and business loans up to $300,000.6 How does it do it? Lending Club rates the individuals and small businesses that come to it for credit and then lends to them at a rate of interest commensurate with their credit history.


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

Adam Neumann (WeWork), 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, WeWork, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

Putting his money to work in fueling tech startups, HAX accelerates about 50 hardware companies per year from Shenzhen and San Francisco locations and is part of the SOSV venture capital umbrella, which spans to startup accelerator Chinaccelerator in Shanghai and MOX in Taipei for mobile-only startups run by startup evangelist and investor William Bao Bean. Its biggest hits so far are electric bike-sharing startup Jump Bikes, acquired by Uber for $200 million, and Bluetooth earphone maker Revols, sold to Logitech. Robots at Work Many robots today are finding all sorts of chores to do, like Pepper, the humanoid robot made in France that greets retail store visitors, and Roomba, the US maker of self-operating vacuum cleaners. Others end up in warehouses, carting boxes.


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Joan Didion, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, the strength of weak ties, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

The plumber who had installed our water heater didn’t work evenings, so I had to wait until the next morning to schedule a repair. Then I had to wait several more hours for the technician to arrive. Having to carry a kettle of boiling water to the bath, as if living in the nineteenth century, left me wishing for an “Uber for plumbers.” If no individual plumber gets enough calls in the evening to justify a regular late shift, couldn’t a middleman pool this sporadic demand and match it with the available supply? Indeed, Chopra agreed, this is a business opportunity for a middleman because the high unpredictability of demand enables the intermediary to provide real value.


pages: 383 words: 81,118

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

Airbnb, Alvin Roth, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

The Six Turbocharging Technologies Six new and rapidly improving technologies have driven matchmaker innovation by reducing the cost, increasing the speed, and expanding the scope of connections between platform sides.6 More Powerful Chips It required a lot of computer power for Evans to use his phone to ask Uber for a ride, for Uber almost instantly to figure out how to match up all the drivers and passengers who were looking for rides around the same time in Brussels, and to point Marc, the driver, to Evans, the passenger. Since the mid-1950s, computer processing has been based on transistors, which have become much smaller over time.


pages: 301 words: 85,263

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle

AI winter, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, coastline paradox / Richardson effect, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, congestion charging, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disinformation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Snowden, fear of failure, Flash crash, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kim Stanley Robinson, late capitalism, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, meta-analysis, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, oil shock, p-value, pattern recognition, peak oil, recommendation engine, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Seymour Hersh, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stem cell, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, Uber for X, undersea cable, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Whether you’re a bone-tired, constantly moving picker on the Amazon shop floor getting your instructions from a Wi-Fi-enabled barcode scanner, or a late-night, individually contracted minicab driver following the bright line of a GPS system from red dot to red dot, the technology effectively precludes you from working with your colleagues for the advancement of working conditions. (This hasn’t stopped Uber, for example, from requiring that its drivers listen to a set number of anti-union podcasts every week, all controlled by their app, to drive the message home.)18 Once the inside of a car or warehouse is organised in such an efficient manner, its effects start to spread outside as well. In the 1960s and ’70s, automobile makers in Japan created a system called just-in-time manufacturing: ordering small quantities of materials from suppliers at greater frequencies.


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

Otto (now a division of Uber) "We want to get the technology to the point where it's safe to let the driver rest and sleep in his cabin and we can drive for him, exit to exit" Lior Ron, co-founder, Otto Google has long held the PR spotlight in developing driverless technology; however, with the emergence of Otto[255] and Elon Musk’s announcement of a Tesla Semi,[256] driverless trucks are coming to the forefront of the autonomous vehicle conversation. Heavily-funded start-up Peloton[257] is also active in this space. Otto was acquired by Uber for $680m in August 2016, just months after it was founded by alumni from some of Silicon Valley’s leading companies. Otto doesn’t make its own trucks - it instead offers kits to retrofit existing lorries. The initial focus for Otto is to enable driverless trucks on highways rather than around towns.


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, impact investing, 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, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, San Francisco homelessness, 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, super pumped, 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, WeWork, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

That pot of gold becomes a powerful incentive. As the dollars get bigger, so does the stress, especially when employers take advantage of the leverage they’ve gained. In the hands of a bad employer those options can make people incredibly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. That is reportedly what happened at Uber. For several years after its founding in 2009, Uber was the hottest tech unicorn in the world. Getting a job at the San Francisco ride-sharing company was like winning a golden ticket. But Uber’s managers took full advantage of that. Uber became a toxic, stressful place to work, with bullying, allegations of sexual harassment, and a notoriously cruel culture.


pages: 286 words: 87,401

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, database schema, discounted cash flows, Elon Musk, Firefox, forensic accounting, George Gilder, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hockey-stick growth, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, yellow journalism

Speed was in fact a commercial success, mostly because it did in fact live up to its description. But the success of Speed led to a raft of derivative and inferior movies, ranging from Steven Seagal’s Under Siege (“Die Hard on a ship”) to Steven Seagal’s Executive Decision (“Die Hard on a plane”). When an investor funds “Uber for Pets,” that’s bad pattern matching. The good kind of pattern matching involves understanding what medical science terms “the mechanism of action.” Speed works because confining the action to a bus that has to stay at a certain speed or higher to avoid setting off a bomb creates built-in dramatic tension—especially given the famously bad traffic in Los Angeles.


pages: 301 words: 85,126

AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together by Nick Polson, James Scott

Air France Flight 447, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, basic income, Bayesian statistics, business cycle, Cepheid variable, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Charles Pickering, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Flash crash, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, index fund, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, late fees, low earth orbit, Lyft, Magellanic Cloud, mass incarceration, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Moravec's paradox, more computing power than Apollo, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, North Sea oil, p-value, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, ransomware, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, survivorship bias, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

Or the autonomous shipping terminal at the Port of Qingdao, in China—six enormous berths spanning two kilometers of coastline, 5.2 million shipping containers a year, hundreds of robot trucks and cranes, and nobody at the wheel.4 One of the most common questions we hear from students in our data-science classes is “How do these robots work?” We’d love to answer that question in all its glory. Alas, we can’t. For one thing, there are so many details that it would take a much longer book, one with lots and lots of equations. Besides, a lot of the details are proprietary. You may have heard, for instance, that Waymo has sued Uber for $1.86 billion over the alleged theft of some of those details—a suit whose outcome, at the time of writing, was unknown.5 Details aside, though, let’s think about the big picture. Here’s an analogy. You can certainly learn the basics of how a plane stays in the air, even if you don’t know how to build a Boeing 787.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, San Francisco homelessness, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The future is already here, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

In August 2013, Uber drivers sued the company for failing to remit tips and in September 2014 around a thousand Uber drivers in New York City organized a strike against the company’s unfair working conditions. “There’s no union. There’s no community of drivers,” one sixty-five-year-old driver who has been working for Uber for two years complained to the New York Times in 2014. “And the only people getting rich are the investors and executives.”9 The fabulously wealthy Silicon Valley investors, who will ride the startup till its inevitable IPO, love Uber, of course. “Uber is software [that] eats taxis. . . . It’s a killer experience,” you’ll remember Marc Andreessen enthused.10 Tragically, that’s all too true.


pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, algorithmic bias, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, independent contractor, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

For example, Minsky liked to tell a story about some friends of his who built an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the backyard of a house that once belonged to architect Buckminster Fuller. This attitude, that creating mattered more than convention (or laws), was what people of Minsky’s generation passed on to their students. It shows up later in the behavior of tech CEOs like Travis Kalanick, who in 2017 was ousted from his top position at Uber for (among other things) creating a culture of sexual harassment. Kalanick also had the attitude that laws didn’t matter. He launched Uber in cities worldwide in defiance of local taxi and limousine regulations, created a program called Greyball to help Uber computationally evade sting operations by law enforcement, was captured on camera verbally abusing an Uber driver, and looked the other way when Uber drivers raped passengers.10 According to a blog post by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, Kalanick’s tech managers were almost cartoonishly incompetent at dealing with the harassment complaints Fowler lodged.


pages: 308 words: 85,880

How to Fix the Future: Staying Human in the Digital Age by Andrew Keen

23andMe, Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, digital map, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, Filter Bubble, Firefox, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, income inequality, independent contractor, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Parag Khanna, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, postindustrial economy, precariat, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, surveillance capitalism, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, the High Line, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra, Zipcar

Other entrants in the hackathon included an app designed to remove bias from hiring decisions, a platform that enables employers to create a diverse applicant pool for new jobs, a suite of tools helping start-up founders provide truly fair compensation to their employees, and a mobile platform connecting traditional businesses with independent labor to fill hourly paid shift work. After the hackathon I meet with Freada Kapor Klein who, with her husband Mitch, has emerged as a kind of de facto spokesperson of the opposition to the gilded age excesses of Silicon Valley—the conscience, if you like, of the revolution. As an early investor in Uber, for example, she has been very vocal in her critique of Uber’s controversial treatment of its female employees. In February 2017, after a female former Uber engineer wrote a widely read blog post exposing the systemic sexism and sexual harassment at the company, Kapor Klein with her husband, Mitch, even penned an “Open Letter to the Uber Board and Investors,” which went viral on the internet, about what they called the “toxic” culture of the rideshare start-up.24 And after revelations about 500 Startups CEO Dave McClure’s systematic sexual harassment of female entrepreneurs, Mitch Kapor—a limited partner in one of the 500 Startups investment funds—publicly stated his intention to ask for his money back from the fund.25 “Tech must change,” the influential TechCrunch journalist Josh Constine wrote about the corrosive culture at Uber, “and more people like the Kapors must stand up for that change.”26 Kapor Klein, who never seems to appear in public without her dog Dudley, tells me that she grew up in Los Angeles in an activist family and went to UC Berkeley in the early countercultural seventies.


pages: 328 words: 84,682

The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power by Michael A. Cusumano, Annabelle Gawer, David B. Yoffie

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, gig economy, Google Chrome, independent contractor, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multi-sided market, Network effects, pattern recognition, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, zero-sum game

These issues were also part of a national debate in the United States about workers in the gig economy more broadly. We cannot predict with any certainty how this debate will end. Nonetheless, we believe that the days of large platforms treating everyone as a contractor are probably over, at least in the United States. Legal and reputational risks are rising dramatically for firms like Uber. For workers who perform tasks central to a business, the bigger, successful platforms will need to offer some benefits that are comparable to what regular employees receive. Start-ups can get away with using mostly contractors at first because they are still small and under the radar of regulators and competitors.


pages: 251 words: 80,831

Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups by Ali Tamaseb

"side hustle", 23andMe, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, business intelligence, buy and hold, Chris Wanstrath, clean water, cloud computing, coronavirus, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, game design, gig economy, high net worth, hiring and firing, index fund, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, QR code, remote working, ride hailing / ride sharing, robotic process automation, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, web application, WeWork, Y Combinator

They have stronger networks from which to source early employees and advisors and to be introduced to potential customers. They may also be better adapted to the personal demands of running a startup, and less likely to repeat mistakes. Looking at international startups, we can see Super Founders all over. Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem—the Uber of the Middle East, which was acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion in 2019—was also a Super Founder. Prior to Careem, Mudassir spent a decade building technology startups in Silicon Valley, where he had been a co-founder of DeviceAnywhere, which was eventually acquired by Keynote Systems for $60 million. That said, past experience doesn’t account for everything.


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, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, independent contractor, 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, Tragedy of the Commons, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

These costs and regulations were not implemented out of spite but in order to maintain fair pricing, adequate supply, and a minimum quality of service. How can a cabbie make mandatory loan and insurance payments and compete on price against an out-of-work actor with a car, a smartphone, and a few hours to kill? Uber, for one, well knows this. One of the company’s e-mail campaigns proclaims that Uber prices are “now cheaper than a New York City taxi”—for a limited time only. It’s as if the company is giving fair warning that its predatory pricing strategy is just a temporary measure designed to put regular yellow cabs out of business, the same way Walmart undercuts local retailers.


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, 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

It’s not that smart cities are filled with nothing but smart people (though it may be that they’re the first to realize the advantages of living in them). It’s that you don’t have to be a genius to get the most out of smart buses, smart streetcars, smart sidewalks, and, of course, smart streets. In August of 2014, I used the car service known as Uber for the first time. I had been at the annual Sam Schwartz Engineering Coney Island Afternoon, which gives folks in our New York office the chance to blow off some steam riding the (very scary) Cyclone wooden roller coaster, which has been terrifying riders since 1927; to take the swinging car on the Wonder Wheel; and even to experience the thrill of being shot into the air from gigantic slingshots, which is where I, at least, draw the line.


pages: 302 words: 87,776

Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dr. Dan Ariely, Jeff Kreisler

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, bitcoin, Burning Man, collateralized debt obligation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, endowment effect, experimental economics, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, impact investing, invisible hand, loss aversion, mental accounting, mobile money, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

James rejected an unfair umbrella price, even though he needed it, he could afford it, and $10 was probably a good value at that time for helping him stay dry. James didn’t reject the locksmith’s work, though he clearly expressed displeasure and frustration, undervaluing quick access to his own home. Renee quit Uber for a while after experiencing Uber’s weather-related price hikes, even though the value of using this service under regular weather conditions remained the same. (For those paying close attention, yes, James refused to spend an extra $5 to stay dry on the same day on which he didn’t flinch at his boss paying $725,000 for a long-winded PowerPoint presentation.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Instead, we see it only in places that value innovation and that protect the process of innovation. In many societies, innovation is seen as a threat to the established order, and these societies often use political power to stifle and suppress such advances, the way the taxi industry is attempting to use the government to stop Uber. For innovation to flourish, individuals need (1) the freedom to challenge old ideas and adopt new ones, (2) the freedom to put new ideas into practice, (3) the freedom of others in society to adopt or reject the innovator’s ideas, and (4) the freedom of the innovator to profit from successful innovations.


pages: 302 words: 95,965

How to Be the Startup Hero: A Guide and Textbook for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs by Tim Draper

3D printing, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, business climate, carried interest, connected car, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fiat currency, frictionless, frictionless market, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Put together two normally unassociated things and make something new from the two of them. If you put together a refrigerator with an oven, you might come up with a robotic storage and cooking device. Put together a wallet and a cell phone and you might figure out how to eliminate paper or plastic money. Applied to businesses, you might come up with Uber for plumbers or Facebook for circus hands. When you storm your brain, always think not only of improving what is out there but also reimagine the whole experience from fundamentals. We have washing machines, and dryers, and ironing boards, and folders, and stackers and closets, but what we really want is a system for replacing dirty clothes with clean, dried, pressed and stacked clothes.


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, independent contractor, 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, WeWork, women in the workforce, working poor

“Teachers are killing themselves,” he said. “I shouldn’t be having to drive Uber at eight o’clock at night on a weekday. I just shut down from the mental toll: grading papers in between rides, thinking of what I could be doing instead of driving—like creating a curriculum.” It was no accident that Barry was driving for Uber. For the last two years, the company had sponsored initiatives to encourage teachers to moonlight as chauffeurs. The campaigns differed from year to year and from city to city. In 2014, its discomfiting motto was “Teachers: Driving Our Future.” In 2015 in Chicago, there was a seasonal component: Uber offered teachers a summer job.


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, independent contractor, 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

Much of this work was cognitive in nature – totting up sums, for instance – but highly routinized. The big macro process – running a global business – required lots of modestly skilled workers doing simple tasks. There is precious little of that sort of work being created today. The digital revolution has its echoes of the old model, mind you. Uber, for instance, is a rough analogue. Traditional cab drivers are more like members of old craft guilds than you might initially think. Their jobs are protected by law and regulation (such as the medallions one needs to operate a New York City yellow cab) and special expertise that until recently had real value (like ‘the knowledge’ of London’s tangled street grid one must obtain before operating a black cab).


pages: 279 words: 90,888

The Lost Decade: 2010–2020, and What Lies Ahead for Britain by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, call centre, car-free, centre right, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Attenborough, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy transition, Etonian, first-past-the-post, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global village, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Dyson, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, moral panic, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pension reform, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, smart meter, Uber for X, urban renewal, working-age population

A Guardian investigation (data weren’t collected by the Department for Transport) found short-distance single bus tickets costing over £5. The problem wasn’t private provision in itself since franchising worked in London; it was empowering councils to plan, organise and link travel options and increase subsidies, which were now running at about 40 per cent of bus income. Even in London, individualism – using Uber, for instance – started to eat into passenger numbers, as Transport for London struggled with its finances. We will look later at the growth in the importance of place: how opportunities to move – or a lack of them – became a stronger determinant of life chances. Though only a small proportion of journeys were made on trains, they bulked large in the imagination of business and policy-makers as the key to intercity and inter-regional mobility.


Data Action: Using Data for Public Good by Sarah Williams

affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, City Beautiful movement, commoditize, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, data is the new oil, digital twin, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, four colour theorem, global village, Google Earth, informal economy, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, mass incarceration, megacity, Minecraft, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, openstreetmap, place-making, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, selection bias, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Steven Levy, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, transatlantic slave trade, Uber for X, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, Works Progress Administration

Can Uber ensure that governments will retain the privacy of their citizens? At the same time, Uber is operating its business on public infrastructure, namely public streets and roads. Does it owe the public anything for operating on public infrastructure? What, if any, is its responsibility to the public? Uber, for its part, has felt pressure and is trying to identify ways to share this data. It's not surprising that companies don't want to give their data away: they spend time and money filling their databases with information, and they have legal precedents to back up their claims. In Feist Publications v.


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, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, independent contractor, 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, Money creation, 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, Tragedy of the Commons, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

In a seminal book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen argued that innovation was ‘disruptive’ if it had the potential to generate new products or services or to deliver them in radically new ways.3 He and colleagues later claimed that the provision of services through digital platforms did not meet two criteria for disruptive innovation – that the innovation must target the low end of an existing market and mainly draw in non-consumers of existing options.4 But digital platforms surely qualify as disruptive on both counts. Uber, for example, has expanded the market for taxi services by offering cheap rides, drawing in users previously put off by high prices and lack of flexibility of traditional taxi services. By late 2015 Uber had over 1.1 million drivers and was operating in 351 cities in sixty-four countries.5 Airbnb has created a casual rental market enabling people to let rooms in their homes on a short-term basis, as well as providing a platform for conventional bed-and-breakfast operators.


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

Here’s an example for the company Morgan runs, Inman News, which is a subscription business: (WEBSITE TRAFFIC × EMAIL CONVERSION RATE × ACTIVE USER RATE × CONVERSION TO PAID SUBSCRIBER) + RETAINED SUBSCRIBERS + RESURRECTED SUBSCRIBERS = SUBSCRIBER REVENUE GROWTH For eBay the formula is: NUMBER OF SELLERS LISTING ITEMS × NUMBER OF LISTED ITEMS × NUMBER OF BUYERS × NUMBER OF SUCCESSFUL TRANSACTIONS = GROSS MERCHANDISE VOLUME GROWTH Johns even created this equation for Amazon to illustrate the value of these formulas:6 VERTICAL EXPANSION × PRODUCT INVENTORY PER VERTICAL × TRAFFIC PER PRODUCT PAGE × CONVERSION TO PURCHASE × AVERAGE PURCHASE VALUE × REPEAT PURCHASE BEHAVIOR = REVENUE GROWTH While all products will share common drivers of growth, such as new user acquisition, higher activation, and better retention, each product or business has a more specific combination of factors that are uniquely its own. For Uber, for example, one crucial factor is the number of drivers, because there must be enough of them in any given location to ensure the aha moment of a ride showing up quickly. The number of riders is also crucial, not only for generating revenue, but for assuring that there’s enough demand for drivers so that those who do sign on keep driving.


pages: 349 words: 98,868

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Whether in the service of big business such as Facebook or of government agencies, it remains most effective as a tool of surveillance, pattern recognition, and control. The way we are ensnared in digital networks, by apps and platforms, is with the promise of more efficient coordination: it’s not that the world will become better known to us, but that it will become more obedient to us. Uber, for example, relieves us of the need to know taxi numbers, addresses, or maps, replacing them all with a technology of command. Zuckerberg’s vision of telepathy is also one of commands, allowing the “user” to send thought A to person B, with minimal interruption or effort. Of course, in the process, the companies that facilitate this coordination are seeking to render themselves so indispensable to the social world that the ultimate capacity for control lies with them.


Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World by Jevin D. West, Carl T. Bergstrom

airport security, algorithmic bias, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bitcoin, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, disinformation, Dmitri Mendeleev, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, experimental economics, invention of the printing press, John Markoff, longitudinal study, Lyft, meta-analysis, new economy, p-value, Pluto: dwarf planet, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Socratic dialogue, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, stem cell, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, When a measure becomes a target

A year later, Uber was delivering 291,000 rides per day and Lyft about 60,000 rides per day. This was an overall increase of 161,000 rides per day, from 190,000 rides per day to 351,000 rides per day. Of those 161,000 extra rides, Lyft contributed about 31,000 of them. Thus Lyft is responsible for about 16 percent of the increase, and Uber for the rest. So far so good. Over the same period, the number of yellow taxi rides plummeted from 398,000 per day to 355,000. If we look at the total number of rides by yellow taxi, Uber, or Lyft, we see a net increase, from 588,000 to 696,000. That’s a net increase of 108,000 rides per day. We already know that Lyft increased its rides by 31,000 per day over this period.


pages: 372 words: 101,678

Lessons from the Titans: What Companies in the New Economy Can Learn from the Great Industrial Giants to Drive Sustainable Success by Scott Davis, Carter Copeland, Rob Wertheimer

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, airport security, barriers to entry, business cycle, business process, clean water, commoditize, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, factory automation, global pandemic, hydraulic fracturing, Internet of things, iterative process, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, megacity, Network effects, new economy, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, random walk, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, skunkworks, software is eating the world, strikebreaker, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, WeWork, winner-take-all economy

And technology extends the efficiency benefits further into the system, making the whole jobsite better as opposed to just the operations of the rental company. We only follow the new asset-sharing tech companies casually, but they don’t seem to be driving lower cost and greater efficiency in the same way. Our own office for Melius Research started in a WeWork building, because it was a flexible way to start a business. We use Uber for seeing clients, with ease and real savings. Yet there are signs that these models are failing to create widening, sustained value. The companies might not own the assets, and they may not have employees. The assets are still there, though, and the “contractors” still cost money—if not for the business, for the customer.


pages: 303 words: 100,516

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, barriers to entry, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, East Village, eat what you kill, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, index fund, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the High Line, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, zero-sum game

Individual investors were putting more of their money into index funds, which broadly tracked the economy, leaving mutual fund managers seeking alternatives to prove they could beat a market that was already booming. At the end of 2014, the New York Times published an article about investors casting about for the next Uber, which was now a decacorn—a company with a $10 billion valuation. WeWork, which the Times described as “Uber for offices,” was among a group of decacorns just waiting to be funded. Benchmark had invested another chunk into WeWork’s Series D round, but a few months later, Bill Gurley returned to Above the Crowd to express concern about the state of the broader venture capital world in a post titled “Investors Beware.”


pages: 303 words: 100,516

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, barriers to entry, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, East Village, eat what you kill, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, index fund, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the High Line, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, zero-sum game

Individual investors were putting more of their money into index funds, which broadly tracked the economy, leaving mutual fund managers seeking alternatives to prove they could beat a market that was already booming. At the end of 2014, the New York Times published an article about investors casting about for the next Uber, which was now a decacorn—a company with a $10 billion valuation. WeWork, which the Times described as “Uber for offices,” was among a group of decacorns just waiting to be funded. Benchmark had invested another chunk into WeWork’s Series D round, but a few months later, Bill Gurley returned to Above the Crowd to express concern about the state of the broader venture capital world in a post titled “Investors Beware.”


pages: 349 words: 102,827

The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-Hackers Is Building the Next Internet With Ethereum by Camila Russo

4chan, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, altcoin, always be closing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asian financial crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, diversification, Dogecoin, Donald Trump, East Village, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hacker house, Internet of things, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, mobile money, new economy, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Turing complete, Uber for X

On May 5 a project called TokenCard raised almost $13 million in ether in thirty minutes to create a Visa debit card powered by smart contacts so that users would be able to pay with crypto wherever Visa was accepted. Like TokenCard, most ICOs launching around that time seemed incredibly ambitious. There was, for instance, SingularDTV, which wanted to be the “decentralized Netflix”; Iconomi, which wanted to be the “Uber for fund management”; and Chronobank, which aimed at “disrupting the HR/recruitment/finance industries [just like] Upwork represented an evolution in freelancing.” Projects raising millions in minutes had become commonplace, but then came one startup that amped it up to millions in seconds. Brave, a web browser founded by Mozilla cofounder and JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, sold $35 million worth of its BAT tokes in thirty seconds on May 31.


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, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, 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

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: 406 words: 105,602

The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, connected car, corporate governance, DevOps, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, hockey-stick growth, index card, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, obamacare, peer-to-peer, place-making, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, universal basic income, web of trust, Y Combinator

In the earliest stage, grants to entrepreneurs looking to pilot their innovation go up to $230,000 (though many are much smaller). “The money is for learning, not outcomes,” Zwane explains. The expectation is that key questions about the project will be answered, and that understanding of the probability of success will be increased. For example, GIF funded the pilot program for a Ugandan startup called SafeBoda—“an Uber for motorcycle taxis”—that hopes to reduce motorbike accidents and head injuries by educating people about wearing helmets. “Their vision of success is that their drivers would wear helmets and their passengers would get offered helmets, so you’d see these health benefits of people using their business.


pages: 416 words: 106,532

Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske, Jack Tatar

Airbnb, altcoin, asset allocation, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, Bear Stearns, bitcoin, Bitcoin Ponzi scheme, blockchain, Blythe Masters, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Dogecoin, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, George Gilder, Google Hangouts, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Network effects, packet switching, passive investing, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk free rate, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, smart contracts, social web, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, two and twenty, Uber for X, Vanguard fund, WikiLeaks, Y2K

In so doing, it raised over $5 million to fund the creation of the platform. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, which is one of the largest companies in the cryptoasset sector, has called it an “awesome project with huge potential.”36 Even Vitalik Buterin acknowledged its potential when he called it an “Uber for knowledge.”37 Augur is one of the clearest uses of cryptotokens, and its potential success could set the stage for even more implementations of crypotokens in the future. A similar prediction market system, Gnosis, held a crowdsale in April 2017 raising money at an implied valuation north of $300 million.


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, Bill Atkinson, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, disinformation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, Ian Bogost, 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 Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The future is already here, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

With open source stacks as a foundation, engineers could focus all their effort on the valuable functionality of their app, rather than building infrastructure from the ground up. This saved time and money. In parallel, a new concept emerged—the cloud—and the industry embraced the notion of centralization of shared resources. The cloud is like Uber for data—customers don’t need to own their own data center or storage if a service provides it seamlessly from the cloud. Today’s leader in cloud services, Amazon Web Services (AWS), leveraged Amazon.com’s retail business to create a massive cloud infrastructure that it offered on a turnkey basis to startups and corporate customers.


pages: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Garrett Hardin, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, independent contractor, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Markets allocate resources in a way that all the buyers and sellers agree to, but as we saw earlier, no individual in the market has that goal, and markets can be ruthless in their treatment of individuals who don’t have many resources to trade. Communities try to serve the interests of their members, but they sometimes systematically—even violently—oppress some of their members, such as those in racial and other minorities. Sometimes a supermind’s goals can even be different from those of its most powerful members. Uber, for instance, forced Travis Kalanick to resign in 2017, even though he was not only the CEO of the company; he also held a majority of the company’s voting shares.2 In some cases (like the firing of a CEO), we may be able to identify specific individuals who play a key role in a supermind’s decision.


pages: 339 words: 103,546

Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power by Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck

augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, coronavirus, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, Google Earth, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, new economy, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, urban planning, WeWork, women in the workforce, young professional, zero day

The business press fawned over the company. It was expanding quickly all over the world and could play a big domestic role in Saudi Arabia, with women still prohibited from driving. Mohammed and Kalanick discussed an investment. At the beginning of June, the fund wired a total of $3.5 billion to Uber. For that, Mohammed became the biggest investor in the world’s hottest tech start-up, and he got his staffer, the fund’s chief Yasir al-Rumayyan, on Uber’s board. He’d proven the kingdom was doing something differently. The investment would be the first instance of many in which Western businessmen, consultants, and bankers promised the world to the young prince but failed to deliver.


pages: 361 words: 107,461

How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success From the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz

"side hustle", Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bear Stearns, Ben Horowitz, big-box store, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, fear of failure, glass ceiling, housing crisis, inventory management, iterative process, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pets.com, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tony Hsieh, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Just think about the hundreds of millions of venture dollars required to launch the handful of tech companies lining Mission Street, filling the office space south of Market. Uber alone has raised $20 billion in the ten years since its founding, and yet for every Uber, there are a hundred Uber competitors or “Uber for _________” companies that never made it. The possibility of succeeding in that kind of capital-intensive, winner-take-all environment has always been much lower than in finding a small niche related but adjacent to a massive boom and building a business there. That was certainly the conclusion Chet Pipkin, the founder of the consumer electronics maker Belkin International, arrived at in the early 1980s when he was a young student at UCLA.


pages: 424 words: 115,035

How Will Capitalism End? by Wolfgang Streeck

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, market bubble, means of production, moral hazard, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, open borders, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, post-industrial society, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, sovereign wealth fund, The Future of Employment, The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Uber for X, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

As post-war national labour regimes, established after intense political struggles to protect workers and their families from market pressures, are being subverted by international competition, labour markets in leading capitalist countries are changing to precarious employment, zero hours jobs, freelancing and standby work, not just in small local but also and often in large global firms. An extreme case in point is Uber, a giant of the so-called ‘sharing economy’, which with the help of new communication technologies functions almost entirely without a workforce of its own. In the United States alone, more than 160,000 people depend on Uber for their livelihood, only 4,000 of whom are regular employees.37 For the rest, employment risks are being privatized and individualized, and life and work become inseparably fused. At the same time, labour-aristocratic middle-class families, striving to meet ever more demanding career and consumption obligations, depend on an underpaid labour force of domestic servants, in particular childminders, who typically are immigrants, mostly female.


pages: 425 words: 112,220

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, Y Combinator, young professional

The more aware you are of yourself and your surroundings, the more data you have to inform your decisions, and the more competitive you will be. Nobody remembers, or is inspired by, anything that fits in. If you’re building a new business, you’ll be tempted to describe what you’re making in the context of what already exists as a shortcut to relatability, like the “Uber for massage” or the “Apple of razors.” The pressure to conform stems from the natural desire to be understood. But what you gain in relatability by latching onto an existing model, you lose in free-range innovation. One of my favorite thinkers on this topic is James Victore, a widely respected designer who has committed a part of his life to educating the next generation of designers.


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, Herbert Marcuse, hive mind, Ian Bogost, 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, surveillance capitalism, 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

Only if the norm carries some prescriptive force, capable of mustering praise and blame on its behalf, will it persist in practice, and thus serve as a description that captures actual behavior well enough that it can serve to anchor sound expectations.11 Social norms vary across cultures, of course, and the variations can get quite localized indeed. Uber, for instance, encountered difficulty in its deployment of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, due to a certain “baffling idiosyncrasy” of that city’s drivers known as the “Pittsburgh left.” Apparently it is a matter of some civic pride for Pittsburghers that when the light turns green, they allow a car headed in the opposite direction to turn left before proceeding through an intersection.


pages: 447 words: 111,991

Exponential: How Accelerating Technology Is Leaving Us Behind and What to Do About It by Azeem Azhar

23andMe, 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, digital map, disinformation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Garrett Hardin, gender pay gap, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, hiring and firing, hockey-stick growth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, independent contractor, industrial robot, intangible asset, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, price anchoring, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, subscription business, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Malthus, Tragedy of the Commons, Turing machine, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, winner-take-all economy, Yom Kippur War

Gig-working platforms make it easier to connect buyers and sellers – the databases and algorithms do the matching. This can lead to an overall increase in opportunities for workers. In developed economies, Uber is bigger than the taxi businesses in many big cities – evidence that the company is expanding markets. In emerging economies, labour markets are often clunkier. Kobo360, a kind of Uber for freight, has helped Nigerian truckers get work in a famously inefficient market mired in corruption and bureaucracy.51 One key way platforms make markets more efficient is by making it easier to discover and apply for jobs on the other side of the world – which might otherwise have been hard to fill.


pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic bias, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, Ian Bogost, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shenzhen special economic zone , Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, When a measure becomes a target, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

The streetcleaner, of course, has a GPS transponder; its moment-to-moment route through the city is mapped by the Mairie, and provided to citizens in real time as part of a transparency initiative designed to demonstrate the diligence and integrity of civil servants (and very much resented by the DPE workers’ union). Unless they are disrupted by some external force—should sanitation workers, for example, happen to go on strike, or a particularly rowdy manif break out—here are the metronomic rhythms of the municipal. The fashion executive had her assistant book an Uber for her; while there’s certainly something to be inferred from the fact that she splurged on the Mercedes as usual instead of economizing with a cheaper booking, there’s still some question as to whether this signifies her own impression of her status, or the assistant’s. Even if the car hadn’t been booked on the corporate account, it is also equipped with GPS, and that unit’s accuracy buffer has been set such that it correctly identifies the location at the moment it pulls up to the curb, and tags the booking with the name of the house the executive works for.


pages: 448 words: 117,325

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, 3D printing, algorithmic bias, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, business process, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, disinformation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Firefox, Flash crash, George Akerlof, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of radio, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, loose coupling, market design, medical malpractice, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ransomware, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, security theater, self-driving car, Seymour Hersh, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, surveillance capitalism, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, Yochai Benkler, zero day

Worse, companies have strong incentives to treat security problems as PR issues, and keep knowledge about security vulnerabilities and data compromises to themselves. Equifax learned about its 2017 hack in July, but managed to keep the fact secret until September. When Yahoo was hacked in 2014, it kept the fact secret for two years. Uber, for a year. When this information does become public, it’s still not enough. Despite the bad press, congressional inquiries, and social media outrage, companies generally don’t get punished in the market for bad security. One study found that stock prices of breached companies are unaffected in the long term.


pages: 567 words: 122,311

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, constrained optimization, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, frictionless market, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, hockey-stick growth, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, platform as a service, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, sentiment analysis, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social software, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, web application, Y Combinator

These mobile applications let you place an order from a food court restaurant, pay, and pick up at an agreed-upon time without waiting. The restaurants like them because they save precious time in the lunchtime rush, and the diners like them because they’re simple and buyers can browse the menu at their leisure. It’s like Uber for lunch. Now consider what would happen if McDonalds were to decide to compete by introducing an application. It might have franchise constraints, or regulations for restaurants located in airports, or state laws about disclosing caloric content. All of these would have to be part of the MVP. Offsetting this, however, is the huge amount of market control the company has.


pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

But there is 24/7 availability, wait time is zero, and it’s as simple as tapping your smartphone to get connected with a physician.51,84a In some ways it can be likened to Uber as we get used to on-demand service via our smartphones. Indeed, two companies have now launched the real equivalent to Uber for medical house calls. In select cities, Medicast and Pager offer doctors on demand on a 24/7 basis. It’s just like summoning a car via Uber or Lyft, but instead of seeing information about the driver and car on your smartphone screen, you see the doctor’s picture, his or her profile, and the length of time it will take him or her to be at your house.


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, independent contractor, 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, sunk-cost fallacy, 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

On this point, it has been noted that “being online increasingly means being put into categories based on a socioeconomic portrait of you that’s built over time by advertisers and search engines collecting your data—a portrait that data brokers buy and sell, but that you cannot control or even see.”44 That information is open for companies and individuals to purchase and use in targeting users—from legitimate advertising to possible abusive use of one’s most secret or vulnerable searches and online behav ior.45 Reflections For some products and ser vices, one does not require all information for decision making. Uber, for example, sets the surge price without knowing where exactly its possible drivers are or how quickly they will respond (if they do). We live in a world where we spend a lot of our household income on ordinary things, such as basic foods, utilities, electricity, mortgage interest, gasoline, and public ser vices.46 For these areas, data-driven, dynamic pricing may be on the horizon.


pages: 505 words: 138,917

Open: The Story of Human Progress by Johan Norberg

additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, humanitarian revolution, illegal immigration, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, liberal capitalism, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, Network effects, open borders, open economy, Pax Mongolica, place-making, profit motive, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, spice trade, stem cell, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Uber for X, ultimatum game, universal basic income, World Values Survey, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, zero-sum game

Today, Uber is a prominent example of how innovation runs into old regulations. This smooth transportation service has not just made it possible to get a car when you need it and forced other taxi services to adapt, it has also inspired similar services in countless other services (‘you can think of it as an Uber for X’). However, it crashed straight into regulatory structures. Some US cities only accept two kinds of car services: licensed cabs you catch on the streets, and black cabs that you have to order in advance. Booking a car via an app worked well in practice but not in theory. Uber has faced a barrage of regulations in different cities.


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, disinformation, 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, Ian Bogost, income inequality, independent contractor, 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, 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, you are the product, Zipcar

Usually the sharing economy is just a way for companies to outsource labor and risk to individual consumers, who take on part of the traditional responsibilities of a company while getting a fraction of the services. The company acts essentially as a search engine or aggregator, bringing the parties together, contributing little, bearing the least amount of risk of anyone involved, and pocketing a nice fee. Uber, for instance, takes about 20 percent of each fare from UberX, its popular, low-budget offering, along with a $1 safety fee. As with online labor markets, the app serves as the ultimate mediator. No one ever has to meet, which is by design. As one TaskRabbit worker remarked: “That’s part of the strategy of TaskRabbit—to keep us apart from one another.


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, disinformation, 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, independent contractor, 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 Bogle, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kim Stanley Robinson, 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 is already here, 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, Tragedy of the Commons, 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

See also data Information, The (tech report), 287 innovation waves, xxiii, 46–47, 339 Innovator’s Dilemma, The (Christensen), 351 Instagram, 96–97, 102 Intel, 12–13, 33 Internet and business organization changes, 123–24 commercializing process, 79–81 communications role, 90 cybercrime, 208–9 economic value of, 97 file sharing between users, 25–26 freedom leads to growth, 100–101 free software people and, 15 and GNN, 28–29, 38–39, 79–81, 89, 276 as neutral platform, 202–3 open source infrastructure, 19, 20 as operating system, 27–28, 35, 41 packet switching, 106–7 peer-to-peer file sharing, 26–27 programmers work from inside the application, 120–24 proprietary applications running on open source software, 25 SETI@home project, 26 survey of users, 81 TCP/IP development, 107–8 web spidering, 110 See also World Wide Web Internet Creators Guild, 289 Internet in a Box, 81 invention obvious in retrospect, 71–75 invisible hand theory, 262–70 iPhone, xiii, 32, 128, 136 iPhone App Store, 101, 128, 136 issue-tracking systems, 118–19 “It’s Still Day 1” (Bezos), 124 iTunes, 31 Jacobsen, Mark, 285 Janeway, Bill, 104–5, 115, 238, 247, 263, 274, 277–78, 284 Jefferson, Thomas, 130 Jensen, Michael, 240–41 jobs, xxvi, 301–3, 308, 320–21 and AI, xx–xxi, 91–92, 232–33 caring and sharing aspects, 308–11, 323–24, 332–33 creativity-based, 312–19 displacement and transformation of, 94 and education/training, 303, 304 independent contractor status at Uber and Lyft, 59 labor globalization, 67 and new technology, xvii optimism about the future, 298–302 reducing work hours, 304, 308–11 replacing with higher-value tasks, 94–95 universal basic income for, 305–6, 307–11 See also augmented workers; employees Jobs, Steve, 70, 313 Johnson, Bryan, 330 Johnson, Clay, 149 Johnson, Samuel, 313 Johri, Akhil, 256 Just for Fun (Torvalds), 14 Kahn, Bob, 107 Kalanick, Travis, 54, 69, 75 Kaplan, Esther, 193 Kasriel, Stephane, 333–34 Katsuyama, Brad, 237–38 Kernighan, Brian, 105–6 Kettl, Donald, 129 Keynes, John Maynard, 271–72, 298 Kickstarter, 291–92 Kilpi, Esko, 89–90 Kim, Gene, 122–23 Klein, Ezra, 143 knowledge, sharing vs. hoarding, 296–97, 323–25 Korea, 134 Korzybski, Alfred, 20, 195, 211, 314 Kressel, Henry, 284 Krol, Ed, 28 Kromhout, Peter, 116–17 Kwak, James, 258 labor globalization, 67 labor movement, 262–63 Lang, David, 183 language, 20–21, 323–24 language translation, 155–56, 165–66 Lanier, Jaron, 96 laser eye surgery, xvii Launchbury, John, 209 LaVecchia, Olivia, 103 Law of Conservation of Attractive Profits (Christensen), 24–25, 33–34, 331 Lazonick, William, 245, 247 Learning by Doing (Bessen), 345–47 LeCun, Yann, 164–65, 167, 234, 297 leisure time, 309–10, 314 Lessig, Larry, 130–31 Lessin, Jessica, 287 Lessin, Sam, 331 Levi, Margaret, 60 Levie, Aaron, 85–86 Lewis, Michael, 237 Lincoln, Abraham, 150, 323 Linux Kongress, Würzburg, Germany, 8–11 Linux operating system, xii, 7, 8, 23, 24 Long Now Foundation, 355–56 Loosemore, Tom, 186–87 “Looting” (Akerlof and Romer), 249 Lopez, Nadia, 371 Loukides, Mike, 38 Lucovsky, Mark, 119 Lyft, 47, 54–55, 58, 70, 77, 94, 183, 262, 318. See also Uber for topics that apply to both machine learning, 155, 163–69, 235–36, 334–36 MACRA (2015), 147–48 magical user experiences, 70, 83–86, 322 Magoulas, Roger, 155 Make (magazine), 337, 341 Makers and Takers (Foroohar), 251–52 Malamud, Carl, 125–26, 129, 130–31 Malaney, Pia, 263 management, xxi, 153–54, 247, 279–80 Managing UUCP and Usenet (O’Reilly), 38 Manber, Udi, 158 manufacturing technique advances, 327–28 manufacturing workers and offshoring, 349–50 Manyika, James, xxiii, 290 MapReduce, 325 maps, 3–5, 19–20, 35 of business models, 48–51, 57–61, 62–70 of energy sources and uses in the US economy, 363–64 the future of management, 153–54 Google Maps, xiii language as, 20–21 meme maps, 51–53 new maps, 75, 128–31, 203 scenario planning, 361 stock prices as a bad map, 243–45 and territory it claims to describe, 211–14, 268 user failure, 170–71 watching trends unfold, 345 Marder, Michael P., 217 marketplace at critical mass, 102–5 Markey, Edward J., 125 Markle Foundation Rework America task force, 320–21, 342–43 Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Blake), 265 mashups, 127, 128 Masiello, Betsy, 64 Mattison, John, 224 Maudslay, Henry, 324 Mazzucato, Mariana, 296 McAfee, Andy, xxii–xxiii McChrystal, Stanley, 116–17 McCloskey, Mike, 368 McCool, Rob, 81 McGovern, Pat, 344 McKusick, Kirk, 16 McLaughlin, David, 340–41 Meckling, William, 240–41 MediaLive International, 29 Medium, 89, 143, 183, 196, 226–27 Megill, Colin, 200, 221 meme maps, 51–53 memes (self-replicating ideas), 44, 205 Merchant of Venice, The (Shakespeare), 171 Messina, Chris, 42 Metaweb, 158 Microsoft, 5 Active/X, 10 barriers to entry against competitors, 13 and cloud computing, 113 and HITs, 166–67 HoloLens, 344, 345 and IBM, 12 investments in AI and “cognitive services,” 53 missing the Internet wave, 360 monopoly position, 33, 102–4 and open source software, 24 operating systems, 7 and World Wide Web, 99–100 Microsoft Network (MSN), 100 minimum wage, 264–68 Misérables, Les (Hugo), 355 Mitchell, Stacy, 103 MIT’s X Window System for Unix and Linux, 16 Molano Vega, Diego, 174 Money:Tech conference, 104 monopoly status, 33, 102–4 Monsanto, 326 Moonves, Leslie, 228 Moore’s Law, 36, 149 Morin, Brin, 341–42 Mosseri, Adam, 224, 226 Mother Night (Vonnegut), 357–58 Moto X phone (Google), 82–83 Mundie, Craig, 131 Muñoz, Cecilia, 148 Musk, Elon, xvi, 302, 329, 363 Nadella, Satya, 353 Napster, 25 narrow AI, 232–33 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 188–89 National Science Foundation (NSF), 80, 132 navigation, 83–84, 131, 176–77 Nest, 82 Netscape, 15 networks, xxiv, 90–91 centralization and decentralization, 105–8 hosting data centers, 121 insight vs. blinded by the familiar, 95–98 marketplace at critical mass, 102–5 networked marketplace platforms, 67 network effects, 34 platforms for physical world services, 92–95 thick marketplaces, 98–105, 128, 133 See also platforms Neuralink Brain-Machine interface, 329 neurotech interfaces, 328–32 NewMark, Craig, 101 news media, 18–19, 200–201, 201–8, 210–14, 225–28 Next:Economy Summit, 267, 303, 309, 369–70 Nielsen, Michael, 43 No Ordinary Disruption (Dobbs, Manykia, and Woetzel), xxiii Nordhaus, William, 296 Norvig, Peter, 33, 155–56 Norway, 305–6 O’Brien, Chris, 225 Occupy Wall Street movement, 229–31, 255 Oculus, 291 “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” (Stiglitz), 255 Omidyar, Pierre, 357 on-demand blood-delivery drones, 370 on-demand education, 341–45 on-demand services, x, xxiii, xxiv, 67–68, 89, 92–95, 302, 309–10.