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pages: 343 words: 91,080

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

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, big-box store, call centre, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, 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

Wells, Attoh, and Cullen, “The Work Lives of Uber Drivers.” 42. Alex Rosenblat, “How Uber’s Alliance with Montréal Drivers Turns Labo[u]r’s Tactics On Its Head,” Uber Screeds, August 4, 2016, https://medium.com/uber-screeds/how-ubers-alliance-with-montr%C3%A9al-drivers-turns-labo-u-r-s-tactics-on-its-head-af490b252dae. 43. Alex Rosenblat, “Is Your Uber/Lyft Driver in Stealth Mode?” Uber Screeds, July 19, 2016, https://medium.com/uber-screeds/is-your-uber-driver-in-hiding-484696894139. 44. Mike Isaac, “Uber’s C.E.O. Plays with Fire,” New York Times, April 23, 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/technology/travis-kalanick-pushes-uber-and-himself-to-the-precipice.html; Ali Griswold, “Oversharing: Waymo Hits Uber Where It Hurts, Instacart Talks Cash-Flow, and Airbnb Dorm Rooms,” Quartz, April 25, 2017. 45.

APPENDIX TWO RIDEHAILING BEYOND UBER Meet Lyft, the Younger Twin Uber may be the dominant player on the ridehail stage, but many Uber drivers work simultaneously for Lyft and other competitors. Lyft was founded in 2012 in the United States: by 2017, it had become available in forty states.1 Lyft achieved an $11 billion valuation by the fall of 2017.2 Recode reported that Second Measure, a research firm that tracks credit card purchases, determined that Lyft had 23.4 percent of the ridehail market share in the United States and Uber had 74.3 percent.3 The corporate practices of Uber and Lyft in managing drivers aren’t identical, but their similarities vastly outnumber their differences.

San Francisco County Transportation Authority, “TNCs Today: A Profile of San Francisco Transportation Network Company Activity,” June 2017, www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Planning/TNCs/TNCs_Today_112917.pdf. 5. Jessica, “New Survey: Drivers Choose Uber for Its Flexibility and Convenience,” Uber Newsroom, December 7, 2015, https://newsroom.uber.com/driver-partner-survey/. 6. Lyft, “Explore,” February 14, 2018, www.lyft.com/. 7. Uber, “Get there,” February 14, 2018, www.uber.com/. 8. Harry Campbell, “2018 Uber and Lyft Driver Survey Results—The Rideshare Guy,” February 26, 2018, The Rideshare Guy, https://therideshareguy.com/2018-uber-and-lyft-driver-survey-results-the-rideshare-guy/. Index Aasim (driver), 153–54 Abbott, Greg, 176 Abraham (driver), 124–25 acceptance of rides.


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

The report has frequently been referred to as a “paper,” but given that it was paid for by Uber and was not subjected to any external review the word “report” is more accurate. 55 For example, Ellen Huet at Forbes, Jacob Davidson at Time, Andrea Peterson at the Washington Post. 56 Peterson, “The Missing Data Point from Uber’s Driver Analysis.” 57 Baker, “Ubernomics.” 58 Guendelsberger, “Infographic.” 59 Booth, “Uber Whistleblower Exposes Breach in Driver-Approval Process.” 60 Biddle, “Uber Driver.” 61 Skinner, “California Prosecutors Say Uber’s Background Checks Missed Convicts.” 62 Said, “As Uber, Lyft, Sidecar Grow, so Do Concerns of Disabled.” 63 Wieczner, “Why the Disabled Are Suing Uber and Lyft.” 64 Trautman, “Will Uber Serve Customers With Disabilities?” 65 Strochlic, “Uber.” 66 Redmond, “Does Airbnb Have an ADA Problem?” 67 Peterson, “Uber Does Not Care about Racism, It Cares about Money.” 68 Wilonsky, “On the Same Day Dallas Task Force Begins Debating Car-for-Hire Rules, Cab Industry Sues Chicago over Uber, Lyft”; Peck, “Uber’s New Delivery Service Only Caters To D.C.’s White Neighborhoods.” 69 Hall and Krueger, “An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States.” 70 Edelman and Luca, Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com. 71 Todisco, “Share and Share Alike?”

8 Schor, “Debating the Sharing Economy.” 9 Gannes, “Zimride Turns Regular Cars Into Taxis With New Ride-Sharing App, Lyft.” 10 Gustin, “Lyft-Off: Car-Sharing Start-Up Raises $60 Million Led by Andreessen Horowitz.” 11 Ibid. 12 Gannes, “Zimride Turns Regular Cars Into Taxis With New Ride-­Sharing App, Lyft.” 13 Gannes, “Lyft Sells Zimride Carpool Service to Rental-Car Giant Enterprise.” 14 Gannes, “Competition Brings Lyft, Sidecar and Uber Closer to Cloning Each Other.” 15 Lawler, “A Look Inside Lyft’s Financial Forecast For 2015 And Beyond.” 16 D’Onfro, “Uber CEO Founded The Company Because He Wanted To Be A ‘Baller In San Francisco.’” 17 Meelen and Frenken, “Stop Saying Uber Is Part Of The Sharing ­Economy.” 18 Scola, “The Black Car Company That People Love to Hate.” 19 Kalanick, “Uber Policy White Paper 1.0.” 20 Hall and Krueger, “An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States.” 21 Geron, “California Becomes First State To Regulate Ridesharing Services Lyft, Sidecar, UberX.” 22 Ferguson, “Recent Transportation Network Company Ordinances.” 23 California Public Utilities Commission, “Transportation Network Companies.” 24 Hirsch, “Taxi Trouble.” 25 Watters, “The MOOC Revolution That Wasn’t.” 26 Trafford, “Is John Tory Facing an Uber Battle at City Hall?”

“Competition Brings Lyft, Sidecar and Uber Closer to Cloning Each Other.” AllThingsD. Accessed May 22, 2015. http://allthingsd.com/20131116/competition-brings-lyft-sidecar-and-uber-closer-to-cloning-each-other-and-cabs/. ———. “Lyft Sells Zimride Carpool Service to Rental-Car Giant Enterprise.” AllThingsD, July 12, 2013. http://allthingsd.com/20130712/lyft-sells-zimride-carpool-service-to-rental-car-giant-enterprise/. ———. “Zimride Turns Regular Cars Into Taxis With New Ride-Sharing App, Lyft,” May 22, 2012. http://allthingsd.com/20120522/zimride-turns-regular-cars-into-taxis-with-new-ride-sharing-app-lyft/. Gans, Joshua.


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

Shutdowns for SideCar, RelayRides Highlight Hurdles for Car- and Ride-Sharing Startups,” Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2013, http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2013/05/15/n-y-shutdowns-for-sidecar-relayrides-highlight-hurdles-for-car-and-ride-sharing-startups/. 25. “Lyft Will Launch in Brooklyn & Queens,” Lyft Blog, July 8, 2014, https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2014/7/8/lyft-launches-in-new-yorks-outer-boroughs. 26. Brady Dale, “Lyft Launch Party with Q-Tip, Without Actually Launching,” Technical.ly Brooklyn, July 14, 2014, http://technical.ly/brooklyn/2014/07/14/lyft-brooklyn-launches/. 27. “Lyft Launches in NYC,” Lyft Blog, July 25, 2014, https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2014/7/25/lyft-launches-in-nyc. 28. Casey Newton, “This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft,” Verge, August 26, 2014, http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft. 29.

“Family of 6-Year-Old Girl Killed by Uber Driver Settles Lawsuit,” ABC7 News, July 14, 2015, http://abc7news.com/business/family-of-6-year-old-girl-killed-by-uber-driver-settles-lawsuit/852108/. 18. “Uber’s Marketing Program to Recruit Drivers: Operation SLOG,” Uber, August 26, 2014, https://newsroom.uber.com/ubers-marketing-program-to-recruit-drivers-operation-slog/. 19. Laurie Segall, “Uber Rival Accuses Car Service of Dirty Tactics,” CNN Money, January 24, 2014, http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/24/technology/social/uber-gett/. 20. Mickey Rapkin, “Uber Cab Confessions,” GQ, February 27, 2014, http://www.gq.com/story/uber-cab-confessions. 21. Ryan Lawler, “Lyft Launches in 24 New Markets, Cuts Fares by Another 10%,” TechCrunch, April 24, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/04/24/lyft-24-new-cities/. 22.

retorted Kalanick, who later couldn’t recall whether he was joking or if he had been responding to an actual rumor. For a brief period in 2014, Lyft had been ready to throw in the towel, and representatives approached Uber about combining the companies. Kalanick and Emil Michael went to dinner with Lyft president John Zimmer and Andreessen Horowitz partner John O’Farrell to discuss a deal, according to three people who were privy to the conversations. The meal was friendly, despite the heated rivalry. But Lyft’s expectations were high. In exchange for selling Lyft to Uber, Lyft’s backers wanted an 18 percent stake in Uber. Uber offered 8 percent; Kalanick wasn’t a fan of mergers to begin with and wasn’t about to hand over a fifth of his prize.


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

He’d send his own employees to the events, where they would show up in jet black T-shirts—Uber’s signature color—carrying plates filled with cookies, each with the word “Uber” written in icing. Each Uber employee had a referral code printed on the back of their T-shirt. The codes were for Lyft drivers to enter when they signed up for Uber, earning them a bonus. Even when they weren’t crashing Lyft parties, Uber found ways to mess with Lyft. All around San Francisco, Uber bought street signs and billboards targeting Lyft. Each billboard showed a large, black disposable razor blade with “Uber” printed on the handle, poised above one of Lyft’s pink, cuddly trademark. In the text beside the graphic, Uber made its message clear: “Shave the ’Stache.”

Chapter 13: THE CHARM OFFENSIVE 119 “asshole culture”: Sarah Lacy, “The Horrific Trickle Down of Asshole Culture: Why I’ve Just Deleted Uber from My Phone,” Pando, October 22, 2014, https://pando.com/2014/10/22/the-horrific-trickle-down-of-asshole-culture-at-a-company-like-uber/. 119 a caricature of a “bro”: Mickey Rapkin, “Uber Cab Confessions,” GQ, February 27, 2014, https://www.gq.com/story/uber-cab-confessions?currentPage=1. 119 “face like a fist”: Swisher, “Man and Uber Man.” 120 the impending launch of “Uberpool”: “Announcing Uberpool,” Uber (blog), https://web.archive.org/web/20140816060039/http://blog.uber.com/uberpool. 120 their corporate blog: “Introducing Lyft Line, Your Daily Ride,” Lyft (blog), August 6, 2014, https://blog.lyft.com/posts/introducing-lyft-line. 121 Lacy tweeted: Sarah Lacy (@sarahcuda), “it troubles me that Uber is so OK with lying,” Twitter, August 20, 2014, 7:01 p.m., https://twitter.com/sarahcuda/status/502228907068641280. 121 tone-deaf response: “Statement On New Year’s Eve Accident,” Uber (blog), https://web.archive.org/web/20140103020522/http://blog.uber.com/2014/01/01/statement-on-new-years-eve-accident/. 122 read the headline: Lacy, “The Horrific Trickle Down of Asshole Culture. 122 Kalanick’s obsession with China: Erik Gordon, “Uber’s Didi Deal Dispels Chinese ‘El Dorado’ Myth Once and For All,” The Conversation, http://theconversation.com/ubers-didi-deal-dispels-chinese-el-dorado-myth-once-and-for-all-63624. 124 Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business: American Bar, “Salle Yoo,” https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/science_technology/2016/salle_yoo.authcheckdam.pdf. 126 “no fear in Silicon Valley”: Mike Isaac, “Silicon Valley Investor Warns of Bubble at SXSW,” Bits (blog), New York Times, March 15, 2015, https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/silicon-valley-investor-says-the-end-is-near/. 127 Manhattan’s Flatiron District: Johana Bhuiyan, “Uber’s Travis Kalanick Takes ‘Charm Offensive’ To New York City,” BuzzFeedNews, November 14, 2014, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/johanabhuiyan/ubers-travis-kalanick-takes-charm-offensive-to-new-york-city. 128 hard-hitting news organization: Mike Isaac, “50 Million New Reasons BuzzFeed Wants to Take Its Content Far Beyond Lists,” New York Times, August 10, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/technology/a-move-to-go-beyond-lists-for-content-at-buzzfeed.html. 130 “Uber’s dirt-diggers”: Ben Smith, “Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists,” BuzzFeedNews, November 17, 2014, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/bensmith/uber-executive-suggests-digging-up-dirt-on-journalists.

Though Sunil Paul’s efforts with Sidecar weren’t taking off, Lyft was gaining traction quickly. People loved the stupid pink mustaches. In theory, regulators were against Lyft’s antics; after all, the company was breaking rules. Uber had been recruiting drivers for some time, but within limits; all of Uber’s drivers were licensed livery vehicle operators registered with local transportation offices. Lyft turned that on its head. The mustachioed startup invited anyone with a car and an ordinary Class C driver’s license to start driving for Lyft. But as one Uber employee competing with Lyft at the time said, “The law isn’t what is written.


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

Sharing was a misnomer, given that Lyft’s drivers were out to make a buck every bit as much as Uber’s. But by promoting the fiction of a friendly gesture rather than a transaction, Lyft could make an argument, however thin, that its trips weren’t commercial. If so, Lyft reasoned they weren’t illegal taxi rides and didn’t fall under any regulator’s jurisdiction. In reality, Uber worked only with licensed livery drivers; Lyft’s drivers were freelancing amateurs. Yet Lyft had one critical similarity with Uber in that its smartphone app adopted the push-a-button/get-a-ride simplicity that catapulted Uber into the limelight.

If Kalanick was feeling the heat, it would only get worse for him and for Uber. The “Operation SLOG” campaign against Lyft had solidified a sense of Uber’s nefariousness among a growing slice of the tech-aware public. “Hopefully people understand what an evil company UBER is and boycott their service,” read one comment on The Verge, which published the exposé of Uber’s campaign against Lyft. Said another: “What can you expect when UBER’s CEO is another one of those Ayn-Rand loving libertarian nutjobs.” It became politically correct in some coastal cities to avoid Uber altogether. Then, in November 2014, Uber hosted a dinner in New York with influential journalists in which it hoped to put the company in a better light.

Lyft, in six U.S. cities a year after starting to offer ridesharing, sold its Zimride business to the car-rental company Enterprise Holdings, which continues to operate it and still caters to universities and companies. (Lyft, Zimride’s ridesharing product before the sale, became the company’s name.) Uber went through a product repositioning as well. UberX, initially promoted as an “eco-friendly” alternative to requesting a limo, became Uber’s taxi-beating offering. What had been Uber was now UberBlack, which in time became a tiny percentage of Uber’s business. Lyft may have had a new approach, but due to its head start with limos, Uber had a broader network in which to insert UberX. It operated in seventy-seven markets worldwide by the end of 2013. Size didn’t prevent Uber from feeling threatened by its pesky and preternaturally cheerful competitor.


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

A BUSINESS MODEL MAP OF UBER AND LYFT One company at the center of many emerging trends is Uber, a center it shares with Lyft, its biggest competitor in the United States; Didi Chuxing in China; and other on-demand car companies around the world. Matt Cohler, an early Facebook employee turned venture capitalist who became an early investor in Uber, noted that the smartphone is becoming “a remote control for real life.” Uber and Lyft drive home the notion that the Internet is no longer just something that provides access to media content, but instead unlocks real-world services. Uber began as so many startups do, not as a transformative big idea but just with an entrepreneur “scratching his own itch.”

The regulatory friction of the traditional approach makes taxi costs higher and availability worse. Uber and Lyft drivers routinely make more money per hour than taxi drivers; meanwhile, customers generally have better experiences and lower prices. Those who complain that Uber and Lyft “aren’t following the rules” need to ask whether those rules are achieving their intended objective. That doesn’t mean that Lyft and Uber should get a free pass on providing employee benefits and labor protections. As we’ll see in Chapter 9, the right answer is to develop a social safety net and regulatory frameworks as flexible and responsive as the on-demand business model itself. Uber and Lyft (and Airbnb) have taken the approach of asking for forgiveness rather than permission for many of their innovations, relying on swift consumer adoption to give them allies against regulators.

Whatever you may think of Uber, it is hard to deny its impact on the economy. If we want to understand the future, we have to understand Uber. Like it or not, it is the poster child for many of the ways that technology is changing the world of work. Lyft, Uber’s smaller rival, is a more idealistic, worker-friendly company that, in practice, has the same business model. Each of the companies has introduced key innovations that were copied by the other. In many ways, they are co-inventing the future of urban transportation. We will consider them together throughout the book. 3 LEARNING FROM LYFT AND UBER IN THE SUMMER OF 2000, MY EXECUTIVE TEAM AND I DID SOME work with Dan and Meredith Beam, of BEAM inc., a strategy consulting firm, on a strategic planning process for our company.


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

Slate, July 6, 2015. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2015/07/airbnb_disrupting_hotels_it_hasn_t_happened_yet_and_both_are_thriving_what.html. 30. Jennifer Surane, “New York’s Taxi Medallion Business Is Hurting. Thanks to Uber and Lyft.” Skift, July 15, 2015. http://skift.com/2015/07/15/new-yorks-taxi-medallion-business-is-hurting-thanks-to-uber-and-lyft. 31. Josh Barro, “Taxi Mogul, Filing Bankruptcy, Sees Uber-Citibank Plot,” New York Times, July 22, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/upshot/taxi-mogul-filing-bankruptcy-sees-a-uber-citibank-plot.html?abt=0002&abg=1. 32. Andrey Fradkin, “Search Frictions and the Design of Online Marketplaces,” September 30, 2015. http://andreyfradkin.com/assets/SearchFrictions.pdf. 33.

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. “There are two main pieces in hospitality success: providing an amazing, delightful experience, and having high occupancy.

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


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

Recognizing the threat from Sidecar and Lyft, which could offer lower prices because of the reduced licensing and insurance costs faced by nonprofessional drivers, Uber responded. In September, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told an interviewer, “If somebody’s out there and has a competitive advantage in getting supply, that’s a problem. I’m not going to just let that happen without doing something about it. . . . Uber started out at the high end originally, but the question is can you create a low-cost Uber? Uber has to become a low-cost Uber as well.”10 In April 2013, Uber announced it would begin offering ride-sharing services from nonprofessional drivers using their personal vehicles in cities where Sidecar and Lyft operated and began rolling out the platform under the UberX name that summer.

By mid-2015, Uber had expanded to 300 cities around the world and had signed up its one-millionth driver, including over 150,000 active UberX drivers in the United States, and claimed to cover 75 percent of the U.S. population.11 Lyft had expanded to 65 cities with 100,000 drivers, all in the United States, by March 2015.12 With Uber and Lyft in the market, competition for drivers and riders was fierce. Both Uber and Lyft aggressively recruited drivers, offering cash bonuses of up to $500 or even $1,000 for drivers who switched from another ride-sharing platform, including Sidecar. Current drivers also received bonuses by referring drivers from another platform. Riders received credits for their first ride and additional credits when they referred other riders. Uber and Lyft periodically cut fares to attract riders.

Every taxi company in the world, for example, has fretted over how to adapt to Uber. Suppliers to the taxi industry, such as General Motors, also have feared that the market could tip to Uber. When Uber starts building its own self-driving cars, GM could be frozen out of the loop. GM’s response was to invest $500 million into Uber’s competitor Lyft to improve the prospects of a competitive industry. Within the taxi industry itself, firms across the world have been striving to fend off Uber’s advances. The single most successful strategy has been political: In numerous cities and even countries, taxi organizations have lobbied local governments to put Uber into a compromised position.


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

Part Nine: The 1990s Koch Funded Propaganda Program That Is Uber’s True Origin Story.” Naked Capitalism (blog). March 15, 2017. www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/03/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-nine-1990s-koch-funded-propaganda-program-ubers-true-origin-story.html. ———. 2019a. “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Nineteen.” Naked Capitalism (blog). April 15, 2019. www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/04/hubert-horan-can-uber-ever-deliver-part-nineteen-ubers-ipo-prospectus-overstates-its-2018-profit-improvement-by-5-billion.html. ———. 2019b. “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Eighteen: Lyft’s IPO Prospectus Tells Investors That It Has No Idea How Ridesharing Could Ever Be Profitable.” Naked Capitalism (blog).

When we asked what he felt the future held, Danny was pessimistic. “I feel Uber is kind of letting us go. . . . Basically they’re going to lower the rates until we break.” Drivers’ complaints are borne out in company data. Between 2014 and 2016 Uber reduced drivers’ share of total revenue from 83 percent to 68 percent.72 Then, facing increased competition from Lyft, on account of boycotts, bad press, and driver exit, Uber raised its payments to drivers to 77 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, Lyft took the opportunity presented by Uber’s squeeze to increase its take, reducing drivers’ share from 82 percent to 73 percent between 2016 and 2018, excluding additional reductions in incentives.73 In 2019, as the ride-hail companies prepared for their IPOs, they were forced to provide some transparency in their SEC filings.

By breaking the law, Uber and Lyft destroyed that viability, and we’re now seeing their drivers subjected to a similar race-to-the-bottom.27 And what the ideological high ground can’t accomplish, money can. The biggest platforms, again with Uber in the lead, have employed an army of lobbyists and public relations firms to fight even minor changes. In response to a modest proposed California law to fill the gap in insurance coverage when a driver has the app on but isn’t on a fare, Uber hired fourteen of the fifteen biggest Sacramento lobbying firms.28 In 2017 Uber and Lyft had more lobbyists than Amazon, Microsoft, and Walmart combined.29 Airbnb has also been active trying to stop laws that limit rental activity or mandate the collection of hotel and occupancy taxes.


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

Julia Tomassetti, ‘Does Uber redefine the firm? The postindustrial corporation and advanced information technology’ (2016) 34(1) Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal 239, 293: Uber and Lyft sublimate their agency in the production of ride services into algo- rithms, programming, and technology management. The metaphor of the ‘platform’ transforms Uber and Lyft from subjects into spaces. It evokes a passive space to be inhabited by active agents—drivers and passengers. For example, Lyft argues that drivers’ ‘low ratings [are] given by passengers, not Lyft. Uber argued that passengers, and not Uber, controlled drivers’ work.

Through ‘partnership with governments and organisations who share [Uber’s] vision of opening up economic opportunity in every city’, promised David Plouffe, then Uber’s Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategy, in late 2015, the platform was ‘committed to creating 20,000 new jobs in Australia’: ‘Uber plans to create 200,000 new jobs in Australia in 2015’, Uber Blog (11 February 2015), https:// * * * Notes 155 newsroom.uber.com/australia/uber-plans-to-create-20000-new-jobs-in- australia-in-2015/, archived at https://perma.cc/EJV7-4ZD8 37. Brhmie Balaram, Fair Share: Reclaiming Power in the Sharing Economy (RSA 2016), 9–10. 38. Lyft, ‘Home page’, http://www.lyft.com, archived at https://perma.cc/ 897C-8HFL 39.

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


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

But these are only the incidences that are caught on tape. Cameras are not required by Uber or Lyft, and many drivers, whether owing to the expense or to concerns about the legality of the cameras, don’t have them. It doesn’t help that Uber has lobbied for weaker insurance protections for workplace injuries.20 Uber has not entirely ignored worker risks—it’s just that any costs associated with protecting drivers are borne by workers or customers. During Uber’s 180 Days of Change campaign, part of an effort to improve the company’s public image and driver morale, Uber announced Driver Injury Protection insurance offered via Aon.

It’s hard to say, and it’s doubtful that Uber or Lyft will be researching or publicizing such statistics anytime soon. Officials with the Whisper website, an anonymous social media site that allows users to post secrets and confessions, say that they’ve “vetted accounts of several people who said they have had sex with an Uber or Lyft driver, and of drivers who said they had sex with customers. And based on things such as geo-location of the posts and direct inquiries, they said they have no reason to believe the posts are bogus.”28 When the former CEO of Uber calls the service “boob-er” because it improves his chances with the ladies, perhaps no one should be surprised when drivers or passengers treat a ride as more than a way home.29 Although the workplace protections dealing with safety and the right to unionize date back to the early industrial age and the beginning of the 1900s, American protections against sexual harassment are a direct outcropping of second-wave feminism.

So I was just saying, ‘All right, I made the right decision.’” Like many drivers, Hector drove for both Uber and Lyft, often deciding which app to activate based on the active guarantees and his own experience with passengers and demand. He described Lyft passengers as nicer, but also noted that Uber had more clients. Although his income appears to be higher than his earnings at the furniture rental center, the start-up costs of becoming a driver were considerable: trading in his car for an Uber-approved model, increasing his car note by $8,000: and the addition of roughly $4,000 in fees and insurance prepayments for his TLC license and registration.


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

One of his fellow protestors leaned out the back window announcing, in the tone and cadence that someone might use during a fire drill, “Do not use Uber. Use Lyft or Sidecar. Take a cab. Take the bus.” Another video Abe posted in the Uber Freedom Facebook group showed a driver pulling up to another car. He rolled down his window. “You work Uber?” the driver asked, in broken English. The other driver confirmed that yes, he did. “This weekend is a strike, you know? I work Uber too. This weekend, strike. Only Lyft, no Uber.” The other driver started to drive away, but the man filming the video kept yelling at him. “No Uber! Fuck Uber!” At a victory dinner later that night, Abe watched himself on the local news.

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

ADD TIP OPTION Though tips were customary in the livery and taxi businesses, Uber discouraged them. “You don’t need cash when you ride with Uber,” the company explained on its website. “Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file—there’s no need to tip.” Many customers assumed that the tip was included in the fare, which in 2016 Uber would clarify, as part of a lawsuit settlement, was not the case.6 Abe wanted Uber to go a step further and put an option to tip drivers in the app, as Uber’s competitor Lyft had already done. 3. RAISE THE CANCELLATION FEE TO $7 If a passenger summoned an Uber driver but then canceled the ride after the driver was on his way, the customer usually paid a fee between $5 and $10, of which drivers could keep some percentage.


pages: 416 words: 100,130

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

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

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

I think that’s the sense that you get, right from the onset, that Lyft does care.” Campbell explains that Uber seems at pains to keep itself at a distance from the lived experience of their drivers: “Uber actually had a policy where they don’t allow their corporate employees to be Uber drivers, where Lyft is almost the opposite. They highly encourage their employees to be drivers.” Lyft tries to show it cares, too, in how it offers drivers incentives. Lyft has always offered riders the opportunity to tip drivers; Uber only introduced this feature in 2017 under pressure from drivers and besieged by crisis. Lyft also takes a different approach to rewarding their most committed drivers, operating a sliding scale that reduces Lyft’s commission based on how many hours a driver works.

“your friend with a car”: Dimosthenis Kefallonitis, “Lyft.me, Your Friend with a Car,” Consumer Value Creation, January 22, 2014. Uber is defined by its remoteness: Alanna Petroff, “The Rise and Fall of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick,” CNNMoney, June 21, 2017. “The reason Uber”: Chris Smith, “Uber Wants to ‘Get Rid of the Dude in the Car’ with Driverless Taxi Service,” TechRadar, May 8, 2014. It all began when Uber: Caroline O’Donovan, “Uber Just Cut Fares in 80 North American Cities,” BuzzFeed, January 9, 2016. “In true Uber fashion”: Harry Campbell, “Uber to Cut Rates in More Than 100 Cities,” The Rideshare Guy (blog), January 8, 2016. www.therideshareguy.com.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

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

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

One of the participants suggested that the huge valuations for Peers Inc companies gives these startups large amounts of “cheap” capital to play with, and therefore the ability to buy growth rather than earn it. Lyft and Uber are fierce competitors in the new app-based medallion-free taxi market. Both have experienced fast growth and expansion in the few years since their founding (Uber in 2009, Lyft in 2012). And now both are engaged in price wars, each reducing fares to attract passengers and lowering their commissions to attract peer drivers. Neither has any competitive intellectual property. Uber’s competitive advantage was once in the deals it had negotiated with local limo companies and individual drivers.

It is my experience with Zipcar and its competitors that customers choose based on a combination of convenience (the technology), price, and proximity. Both Uber and Lyft have business models and apps that appear to work; can the market sustain both? Buying (bribing) users too early in a company’s life cycle will just eat up a lot of money and won’t produce anything lasting. Doing so later is indeed possible, but it can be a very risky strategy depending on a company’s ability to defend that lead. I’ll talk more about the Uber/Lyft battle when I discuss the last phase, later in this chapter. In all cases, the “greasiest” platforms, those with the least friction, win out.

Of course, all users or potential users get to choose which applications they want (this is the free market at work). I can choose to put Lyft or Uber—or both—onto my smartphone. I can say no to a lift from any specific driver. This is critical not just to protect user choice but also to protect the potential for new applications. Peers providing services will stop participating if they think their potential for success, for fair treatment, is rigged from the outset. And this is why Mohammed, an Uber driver, told me he switched from working for a black car service to working for Uber: “I know I will get the call because I’m the closest car, not because I have seniority or am a friend of the dispatcher.”


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

Another startup called Pillow provides a similar service, as do Beyond Stays, GuestHop, Guesty, and many more. Uber also has spawned its own ecosystem of support services. Many people who might want to drive an Uber part-time don’t own a car. Well, thanks to Breeze, a San Francisco-based startup: no car, no problem. Breeze leases cars at $195 a week to aspiring Uber or Lyft drivers. In late 2013, Uber also began partnering with third-party lenders to offer vehicle financing to would-be drivers.2 Insurance is another big opportunity. Both Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage while drivers are on a job, but when they’re not on the way to or driving a passenger, they are out of luck.

No, this isn’t the plot of a movie about high-stakes corporate espionage. This is Operation SLOG, Uber’s covert, ethically dubious, and possibly illegal attempt at poaching drivers from rival ride-hailing service Lyft. “SLOG” stands for Supplying Long-term Operations Growth, a name that hints at why Uber goes to such great lengths to recruit drivers. Uber understands that one of its core functions is to grow its network. Aggressive marketing is nothing new, but for a platform like Uber, the task goes beyond marketing. Uber has to attract two separate groups of users—drivers and passengers—and it has to balance the number of each in order to maintain an equilibrium between supply and demand.

As of the beginning of 2016, Airbnb’s place within the existing regulatory regime for the hotel industry is anything but settled. For Uber, the biggest legal issue is the classification status of its drivers. Uber drivers, which the company calls its “driver partners,” are currently so-called 1099 contract employees, named for Form 1099 that these employees have to file with the IRS. This classification status means that Uber doesn’t have to pay payroll taxes for these contractors and that it doesn’t have to provide long-term benefits such as health insurance and workers’ compensation. It also limits Uber’s legal liability for the actions of its drivers. Most other services marketplaces, including Handy, Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates, classify all or some of their workers as 1099 contractors rather than W-2 workers or contractors.


pages: 302 words: 73,581

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

3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, 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

With a limited supply of drivers in a city and the cost for a driver to connect to an additional platform being so small, drivers multihome on both Uber and Lyft. This has naturally led to intense competition between the two companies, and Uber infamously resorted to a playbook to create interaction failure on Lyft using questionable tactics. Uber decided to target interaction failure on Lyft by contracting third-party agents to use disposable phones to hail Lyft taxies. Before the Lyft taxi arrived at its pickup location, the Uber-contracted agent would cancel the ride. With so many cancelations on the Lyft platform, drivers would become frustrated driving for Lyft and, in some cases, switch to Uber. A smaller number of drivers on the Lyft platform meant longer waiting times for traveler.

For more details, please visit http://platformthinkinglabs.com/about/sangeet-choudary/ TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface 1.0 AN INTRODUCTION TO INTERACTION-FIRST BUSINESSES 1.1 Building The Next Big Thing 1.2 The Platform Manifesto 1.3 The Rise Of The Interaction-First Business 1.4 The Platform Stack 1.5 The Inner Workings Of Platform Scale Conclusion 2.0 DESIGNING THE INTERACTION-FIRST PLATFORM Introduction 2.1 The New New Value 2.2 Uber’s Drivers, Google’s Crawlers And GE's Machines 2.3 Building An Interaction-First Platform Business 2.4 Uber, Etsy, And The Internet Of Everybody 2.5 Personalization Mechanics 2.6 The Core Interaction 2.7 Pull-Facilitate-Match 2.8 The Platform Canvas 2.9 Emergence 3.0 BUILDING INTERACTION-FIRST PLATFORMS Introduction 3.1 Interaction Drivers 3.2 Building User Contribution Systems 3.3 Frictionless Like Instagram 3.4 The Creation Of Cumulative Value 3.5 The Traction-Friction Matrix 3.6 Sampling Costs 3.7 Trust Drives Interaction 3.8 Uber Vs. Lyft And Interaction Failure 3.9 Interaction Ownership And The TaskRabbit Problem 4.0 SOLVING CHICKEN-AND-EGG PROBLEMS Introduction 4.1 A Design Pattern For Sparking Interactions 4.2 Activating The Standalone Mode 4.3 How Paypal And Reddit Faked Their Way To Traction 4.4 Every Producer Organizes Their Own Party 4.5 Bringing In The Ladies 4.6 The Curious Case Of New Payment Mechanisms 4.7 Drink Your Own Kool Aid 4.8 Beg, Borrow, Steal And The World Of Supply Proxies 4.9 Disrupting Craigslist 4.10 Starting With Micromarkets 4.11 From Twitter To Tinder 5.0 VIRALITY: SCALE IN A NETWORKED WORLD Introduction 5.1 Transitioning To Platform Scale 5.2 Instagram’s Moonshot Moment 5.3 Going Viral 5.4 Architecting Diseases 5.5 A Design-First Approach To Viral Growth 5.6 Building Viral Engines 5.7 The Viral Canvas 6.0 REVERSE NETWORK EFFECTS Introduction 6.1 A Scaling Framework For Platforms 6.2 Reverse Network Effects 6.3 Manifestations Of Reverse Network Effects 6.4 Designing The Anti-Viral, Anti-Social Network Epilogue Platform Scale (n): Business scale powered by the ability to leverage and orchestrate a global connected ecosystem of producers and consumers toward efficient value creation and exchange.

Producers and consumers who experience interaction failure become discouraged from participating further and eventually abandon the platform. THE UBERLYFT WAR Interaction failure is especially important for on-demand platforms. Imagine a consumer requesting a service and never being served with a solution. Imagine, in turn, a producer receiving a request and preparing to fulfill that request, only to find that the request is canceled. In both cases, the respective consumer or producer may become discouraged and decide to abandon the platform. In some of the largest cities, drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft, as well as other competitors. It’s not uncommon for these drivers to switch between the two platforms multiple times a day.


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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

Payment is automatic unless you want to change your payment. 190 Source various, including Oxford Dictionaries http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/taxi 191 Bregman, Susan (2015-04-23) Uber and Lyft claim carpooling success. TheTransitWire.com. http://www.thetransitwire.com/2015/04/23/uber-lyft-claim-carpooling-success/ 192 DeAmicis, Carmel (2015-07-18) How Didi Kuaidi Plans to Destroy Uber in China. Re/Code. http://recode.net/2015/07/18/how-didi-kuaidi-plans-to-destroy-uber-in-china/ 193 A longer discussion of our skepticism is here: Levinson (2014-12-01) "It is a Small Market After All" Transportationist blog. http://transportationist.org/2014/12/01/its-a-small-market-after-all-es-gibt-einen-kleinen-markt-uber-alles/ 194 French, Sally (2015-07-01) "An 8-year-old's take on 'Uber for kids'" MarketWatch https://secure.marketwatch.com/story/an-8-year-olds-take-on-uber-for-kids-2015-07-01 195 Zimmerman, Eilene (2016-04-13) "Ride-Hailing Start-Ups Compete in ‘Uber for Children’ Niche” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/business/smallbusiness/ride-sharing-start-ups-compete-in-uber-for-children-niche.html 196 Hatmaker, Taylor (2014-09-08) "Taxi service by women for women launching in New York."

Lyft now does jitney (shared taxi, dollar van, informal transport) type services, dubbed Lyft Line. (Uber has the similar UberPool) These serve either one pickup going to multiple destinations, or multiple pickups going to one destination, or multiple origins to multiple destinations, and compete with both taxi and public transit. (Though it would not be exactly fixed routes, one could imagine regular runs with a known coterie of passengers). This is at a lower rate than the traditional single party taxi-like service. While these services are at the time of this writing only in San Francisco and New York, Lyft now claims that Lyft Line comprises 50% of Lyft's rides in San Francisco and 30% in New York.191 (Not all of Lyft Line customers wind up in a shared ride, they just indicate a willingness to for a lower fare, and get the lower fare regardless of whether another passenger can be found).

While these services are at the time of this writing only in San Francisco and New York, Lyft now claims that Lyft Line comprises 50% of Lyft's rides in San Francisco and 30% in New York.191 (Not all of Lyft Line customers wind up in a shared ride, they just indicate a willingness to for a lower fare, and get the lower fare regardless of whether another passenger can be found). The ease of making ride requests and payments is what drives many folks to choose Uber or Lyft over traditional taxis. We suspect differentiating status and class is another important element. Users are hip enough and wealthy enough to use the new technology and not have to sit where others from other classes have sat before. As these services become widespread, humans will undoubtedly develop new forms of elitism.


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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 gradual addition of new interactions is part of the long-term business plan that platform founders had in mind from the beginning. In early 2015, both Uber and Lyft began experimenting with a new ride-sharing service that complements their familiar call-a-taxi business model. The new services, known as UberPool and Lyft Line, allow two or more passengers traveling in the same direction to find one another and share a ride, thereby reducing their cost while increasing the revenues enjoyed by the driver. Lyft cofounder Logan Green says that ride-sharing was always part of the Lyft idea. The initial version of Lyft, he explains, was designed to attract an initial customer base “in every market.”

In the market for ride-sharing transportation services, the absence of distinct user needs and the presence of strong network effects explains the fierce rivalry between Uber and Lyft. Each side has ruthlessly poached the other’s drivers by offering referral bounties and cash incentives. Some of the alleged tactics border on the unethical. For example, Lyft has accused Uber of ordering, then cancelling, more than 5,000 rides in order to clog the Lyft service. Uber denied the specific charge. But there’s no doubt that both companies are convinced that only one is likely to survive their rivalry, and that each is determined to do whatever it takes to be the one left standing.23 As we’ve seen, the nature of competition in the world of platforms is very different from that in the world of traditional pipeline businesses.

Julie Bort, “An Airbnb Guest Held a Huge Party in This New York Penthouse and Trashed It,” Business Insider, March 19, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/how-an-airbnb-guest-trashed-a-penthouse-2014-3?op=1#ixzz3dA5DDMZz; M. Matthews, “Uber Passenger Says Driver Struck Him with Hammer After He Told Him He Was Going the Wrong Way,” NBC Bay Area, October 8, 2014, http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Passenger-Hit-with-Hammer-by-Uber-Driver-278596821.html. 47. Airbnb, “Host Protection Insurance,” https://www.airbnb.com/host-protection-insurance, accessed June 15, 2015; A. Cecil, “Uber, Lyft, and Other Rideshare Drivers Now Have Insurance Options,” Policy Genius, https://www.policygenius.com/blog/uber-lyft-and-other-rideshare-drivers-now-have-insurance-options/, accessed June 14, 2015. 48.


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Ghost Road: Beyond the Driverless Car by Anthony M. Townsend

A Pattern Language, active measures, AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, big-box store, bike sharing scheme, business process, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, car-free, carbon footprint, computer vision, conceptual framework, congestion charging, connected car, creative destruction, crew resource management, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, dematerialisation, deskilling, drive until you qualify, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, extreme commuting, financial innovation, Flash crash, gig economy, Google bus, haute couture, helicopter parent, independent contractor, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, megacity, minimum viable product, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, openstreetmap, pattern recognition, Peter Calthorpe, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ray Oldenburg, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, surveillance capitalism, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The future is already here, The Future of Employment, The Great Good Place, too big to fail, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge

Most analysts predict that automation will be the decisive turning point in the battle for ride-hail supremacy. That’s why in 2019, even as Uber and Lyft rushed to their initial public offerings, they raced to put working AVs on the streets. Meanwhile, Google sister company Waymo beat them to the punch, quietly launching a massive fleet of 600 self-driving taxis in Phoenix. With up to 20,000 taxibots scheduled to enter service in the next few years, the company could soon be serving up to a million passengers a day by self-driving cab. The day Lyft started trading, its market cap peaked just south of $25 billion. Much-bigger Uber went public a few months later just shy of $100 billion.

Take San Francisco, for instance, ride-hail’s birthplace and the city where people have most eagerly embraced it. By 2016, one-quarter of all vehicle congestion citywide was blamed on Uber and Lyft’s fleets. Fully one-half of the increase in traffic since 2010 was attributed to the ride-hail giants. More alarming than the overall trend were the localized spikes. In the city’s downtown financial district, for instance, Uber and Lyft accounted for a whopping 73 percent of the increased traffic in recent years. Reprogramming mobility had eliminated a decade’s worth of painstaking work by transit agencies, cycling advocates, and walkability planners to reduce auto use.

As one journalist put it, “SoftBank is playing the ride-hailing version of Risk,” the classic board game of global conquest, “but it also owns a piece of all the players.” In North America, SoftBank’s money financed a more costly strategy—a price war of attrition waged against Lyft, Uber’s only substantial competition. In 2019, Uber and Lyft each floated initial public offerings, yet both continued to burn cash at extraordinary speed, spending more than half their current revenue on “driver incentives, passenger discounts, sales, and marketing to acquire passengers and drivers faster than the other.” As Silicon Valley guru Tim O’Reilly argued, the two giants were “locked in a capital-fueled deathmatch.”


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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

Further afield was the potential investment in the ride-hailing company Lyft. Neumann told his deputies he hoped to buy Lyft, and he met repeatedly with John Zimmer, its president and co-founder, about a possible investment by WeWork. It would have been a rather strange marriage: two aging startups, both bleeding money, with one investing the venture capital dollars it raised from SoftBank into the other. (When Masayoshi Son later found out about the talks, he was furious with Neumann and forced him to shut the discussions down. SoftBank was a backer of Lyft’s rival Uber. Neumann told aides he preferred Lyft, in part because it was still run by its founders.

It quickly became clear that stock market investors didn’t just want a company that showed fast growth. Losses—to the surprise of many in Silicon Valley—were seen as a bad thing. Uber lost $3.8 billion in the twelve months before its IPO, a record for a U.S. startup. Even the far smaller Lyft was a broken water main of cash, losing more than $1 billion in the year before its IPO, a record before Uber. While companies like Uber loved to compare themselves to Amazon, Amazon lost far less in its first decade combined than Uber lost in the year before its IPO. These losses were without precedent. And suddenly they were a black mark. The bankers at JPMorgan and Goldman realized WeWork wouldn’t be immune to the market chill.

Now, however, startups were finding that they could afford to stay private for years longer, thanks to the giant roster of investors trying to get into hot startups. By 2016, Uber was already seven years old, with no defined plans on when to go public. WeWork was six. Airbnb was eight. Staying private meant an easier life for a founder—without the scrutiny one faced from the press and investors over quarterly earnings reports. The lack of scrutiny let problems fester inside these companies. Companies like Uber and Lyft got used to losing money without much concern from their investors. The entire culture of many of these startups was based on revenue growth, not on curtailing excessive spending.


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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

A few months later, in 2012, Zimride held an internal hackathon in an attempt to increase user retention and engagement. The solution they came up with was Lyft. The following year, the company switched its name (and focus) and sold its remaining Zimride assets to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Lyft and Sidecar, competing with each other, gained a lot of traction in San Francisco. They proved that consumers were willing to jump in an unlicensed taxi to go from point A to B (Uber’s black cars were licensed). At this point, Uber had raised $11 million from VCs, Zimride/Lyft had raised $6 million, and Sidecar had raised $10 million. When Lyft and Sidecar became popular, Uber realized the larger opportunity afforded by the gig economy, transitioned from the luxury service to the affordable service, and launched UberX.

Most importantly, they couldn’t raise as much capital as Uber and Lyft did. “We were unable to compete against Uber, a company that raised more capital than any other in history and is infamous for its anti-competitive behavior,” said Sidecar’s CEO, Sunil Paul. “The legacy of Sidecar is that we out-innovated Uber but still failed to win the market. We failed—for the most part—because Uber is willing to win at any cost and they have practically limitless capital to do it.”6 Sidecar shut down operations on New Year’s Eve in 2015, and General Motors acquired its remaining assets and intellectual property. Uber went on to raise billions of dollars to become the dominant force in the ridesharing industry.

Uber went on to raise billions of dollars to become the dominant force in the ridesharing industry. Today, Lyft and Uber have raised billions of dollars from investors in public and private markets. Despite its lower sales and market share, Lyft has remained persistent over the last ten years, establishing itself as a more ethical alternative to Uber, which has suffered a long list of scandals and controversies. The two companies also perform differently by location, with Lyft seeing more success in cities like Detroit and San Francisco, while Uber outperforms in Miami and Houston. Neither company has turned a profit—likely because of intense price competition with one another.


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The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People - and the Fight for Our Future by Alec Ross

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, clean water, collective bargaining, computer vision, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, Covid-19, COVID-19, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, drone strike, dumpster diving, employer provided health coverage, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, income inequality, independent contractor, intangible asset, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, mortgage tax deduction, natural language processing, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steven Levy, strikebreaker, TaskRabbit, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, working poor

By March 25, 2019, Rideshare Drivers United: Alexia Fernández Campbell, “Thousands of Uber Drivers Are Striking in Los Angeles,” Vox, March 25, 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/3/25/18280718/uber-lyft-drivers-strike-la-los-angeles; Bryce Covert, “‘It’s Not Right’: Why Uber and Lyft Drivers Went on Strike,” Vox, May 9, 2019, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/9/18538206/uber-lyft-strike-demands-ipo. On May 8, 2019, days before Uber: Covert, “Why Uber and Lyft Drivers Went on Strike,” https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/9/18538206/uber-lyft-strike-demands-ipo; Ben Chapman, “Uber Drivers in UK Cities Go on Strike in Protest over Pay and Workers’ Rights,” Independent, May 7, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uber-drivers-strike-london-birmingham-glasgow-nottingham-pay-rights-a8898791.html.

On August 22, 2017, more than one hundred: Marie Targonski-O’Brien, “Uber, Lyft Drivers Crowd LAX, Protest Low Pay,” KCET, August 22, 2017, https://www.kcet.org/shows/socal-connected/uber-lyft-drivers-crowd-lax-protest-low-pay. Between 2013 and 2017: “The Online Platform Economy in 2018: Drivers, Workers, Sellers, and Lessors,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute, April 2019, https://institute.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/labor-markets/report-ope-2018.htm. “Most of us as drivers”: Targonski-O’Brien, “Uber, Lyft Drivers Crowd LAX, Protest Low Pay,” https://www.kcet.org/shows/socal-connected/uber-lyft-drivers-crowd-lax-protest-low-pay.

On May 8, 2019, days before Uber: Covert, “Why Uber and Lyft Drivers Went on Strike,” https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/9/18538206/uber-lyft-strike-demands-ipo; Ben Chapman, “Uber Drivers in UK Cities Go on Strike in Protest over Pay and Workers’ Rights,” Independent, May 7, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uber-drivers-strike-london-birmingham-glasgow-nottingham-pay-rights-a8898791.html. On May 10, its first day: Lucinda Shen, “Uber Is One of the Worst Performing IPOs Ever,” Fortune, May 10, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/05/10/uber-ipo-worst-performing-percentage/; Danielle Abril, “Lyft Stock Tumbles Two Days after Its IPO,” Fortune, April 1, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/04/01/lyft-stock-drops-after-ipo/. There are real changes that can be enacted: Rideshare Drivers United homepage, accessed May 21, 2020, https://drivers-united.org/. Uber has more than 3.9 million drivers: “Company Info,” Uber, accessed May 21, 2020, https://www.uber.com/newsroom/company-info/; Steve Minter, “Who Are the World’s Biggest Employers?”


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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

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick believes that driverless cars pose an existential risk to Uber,[117] and they are working hard to catch up with others in the area. Their big fear is that if someone else develops driverless cars first and launches a fleet of vehicles, they would be able to offer rides at a fraction of the cost that Uber charge, where the bulk of the ride cost is the cost of the driver. In May 2017, Uber’s biggest rival in the US, Lyft, announced a partnership with Waymo, just as Waymo and Uber were embroiled in a legal battle over Intellectual Property concerning LiDAR.[118] Baidu China's top online search firm Baidu said in 2015 it aims to put self-driving vehicles on the road in three years and mass produce them within five years, after it set up a business unit to oversee all its efforts related to automobiles.[119] In a surprise follow up announcement, Baidu revealed it would make its driverless cars technology, including its vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud data services, freely available to others, particularly car manufacturers, to develop autonomous vehicles.[120] A Baidu driverless car prototype.

The new player in the mix of urban life is cars on demand, either on a trip basis with a driver with a service like Uber or Lyft, or on a usage basis - with a service like Zipcar - essentially rental by the hour or by subscription. Taxis have long been a popular way to get around when driving yourself doesn’t suit or isn’t possible. But the modernisation of taxis via the smartphone has given the concept a new lease of life. As of May 2017, leading on-demand provider Uber operates in over 580 cities and saw over $20 billion of bookings in 12 months. Rival company Lyft provides over 20 million rides per month. Ride sharing is currently responsible for about 4 percent of the miles traveled by car globally and Morgan Stanley believe the number will be nearly 30 percent by the year 2030.[59] We’ll look at ownership and its alternatives in more detail in Chapter 5.

A January 2013 Columbia University study[176] suggested that with a fleet of just 9,000 autonomous cars, Uber could replace every taxicab in New York City, and that passengers would wait an average of 36 seconds for a ride that costs about $0.50 per mile. Such convenience and low cost would make car ownership a dubious financial choice. A 2010 report from UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center[177] found that one car-share vehicle could remove 9 to 13 vehicles from the road, either because households decided to ditch their personal automobile or significantly delay the purchase of one. One survey suggests that every car added to the fleets of Uber and Lyft leads to 32 fewer car sales, meaning potential “lost sales” by 2020 of over 1 million cars.[178] While that only looks at changes in car purchasing in selected urban areas, and doesn’t take account of any changing usage patterns, brought about by driverless cars, that might increase VMT, it is enough to make car manufacturers sit up and take notice.


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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

Tim Harford, “An Economist’s Dreams of a Fairer Gig Economy,” Financial Times, December 20, 2015. 44. Nick Wingfield and Mike Isaac, “Seattle Will Allow Uber and Lyft Drivers to Form Unions,” New York Times, December 14, 2015. 45. Chris Johnston, “Uber Drivers Win Key Employment Case,” BBC News, October 28, 2016. 46. Jessica Floum, “Uber Settles Lawsuit with SF, LA over Driver Background Checks,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 7, 2016. 47. Rich Jervis, “Austin Voters Reject Uber, Lyft Plan for Self-Regulation,” USA Today, May 8, 2016. 48. Sam Levin, “Elizabeth Warren Takes on Airbnb, Urging Scrutiny of Large-Scale Renters,” Guardian, July 13, 2016. 49.

Yes, the drivers don’t have to commit all their time to Uber, but then Uber isn’t committing anything to the drivers either. This is emblematic of an increasingly unequal economy where, in truth, multibillion-dollar start-ups like Uber and Lyft share none of their stratospheric value with their workers. Indeed, a July 2017 report about the gig economy by the British MP Frank Field alleges that some self-employed UK drivers are earning only £2.50 an hour working for sharing economy companies like Parcelforce and webuyanycar.com.30 “In reality, there is no utopia at companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Handy, whose workers are often manipulated into working long hours for low wages while continually chasing the next ride or task,” that 2017 New York Times editorial argues.31 Or, as the New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino bluntly put it, commenting on the cult of work celebrated by on-demand companies such as the freelance marketplace Fiverr, “The gig economy celebrates working yourself to death.”32 My own experience as a heavy Uber user chimes with these conclusions.

Chantel McGee, “Only 4 Percent of Uber Drivers Remain on the Platform a Year Later, Says Report,” CNBC, April 20, 2017. 34. More, Utopia, 82. 35. Hannah Levintova, “Meet ‘Sledgehammer Shannon,’ the Lawyer Who Is Uber’s Worst Nightmare,” Mother Jones, December 30, 2015. 36. Kapp, “Uber’s Worst Nightmare.” 37. Barney Jopeson and Leslie Hook, “Warren Lashes Out Against Uber and Lyft,” Financial Times, May 19, 2016. 38. Ellen Huet, “What Really Killed Homejoy? It Couldn’t Hold On to Its Customers,” Forbes, July 23, 2015. 39. Carmel Deamicis, “Homejoy Shuts Down After Battling Worker Classification Lawsuits,” Recode, July 17, 2015. 40. Anna Louie Sussman and Josh Zumbrun, “Gig Economy Spreads Broadly,” Wall Street Journal, March 26–27, 2016. 41.


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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

Figure 4.1: Cow Clicker Screenshot. Courtesy of Ian Bogost, http://bogost.com/games/cow_clicker/. Figure 4.2: The cartoon maps Uber provides for its drivers and passengers via the Google Play Store. Figure 4.3: Uber’s homepage offers a message of simultaneous elitism and equality (image from July 2014). Source: Uber, http://mascola.com/insights/ubers-lost-positoning-luxury-car-service/. Figure 4.4: Lyft advertising takes a very different tack from Uber. Source: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/lyft-hopes-accelerate-first-integrated-ad-campaign-159619. Figure 4.5: Amazon Mechanical Turk Interface for Managing Workers. © 2016, Amazon Web Services, Inc. or its affiliates.

The company only recently abandoned its directive that drivers festoon their cars with quirky pink moustaches, and many drivers still assume passengers will sit companionably in the front seat, rather than the rear. Figure 4.4 Lyft advertising takes a very different tack from Uber. For companies like Lyft and more deliberately intimate interface layer systems like the dating app Tindr, the “sharing economy” is not about money at all, but about that experience of companionship. If these business models are founded on exploiting certain kinds of alienated labor and attention, their customer experience promises relief from that alienation. Even as Uber and Lyft collect their invisible commissions on unseen transactions, the affective experience is one of a specially branded community.

“Radio 4 Revives Hitchhiker’s Game,” 4. 32. Belsky, “The Interface Layer.” 33. Kleinman, “You’re Allowed to Tip Your Uber Driver (and Maybe You Should)”; “Do I Need to Tip My Driver?” 34. Knack, “Pay As You Park.” 35. Stein, “Baby, You Can Drive My Car.” 36. Lawler, “Lyft-Off.” 37. See an extensive list of such incidents at: “The Comprehensive List of Uber Incidents, Assaults and Accusations.” 38. Wortham, “Ubering While Black”; Rivoli, Marcius, and Greene, “Taxi Driver Fined $25K for Refusing Ride to Black Family.” 39. Wortham, “Ubering While Black.” 40. Sandvig, “Seeing the Sort: The Aesthetic and Industrial Defense of ‘The Algorithm.’” 41.


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

Here again Uber pointed the way. The company had run an ingeniously underhanded dirty tricks campaign against its largest rival, Lyft, by ordering, then canceling, thousands of rides. The hope was that Lyft’s drivers, frustrated by the cancellations, would come work for Uber. Then there was Operation SLOG—“Supplying Long-term Operations Growth”—a “marketing program” revealed by the Verge that involved undercover recruiters equipped with “burner phones, credit cards, and driver kits,” charged with hailing rides on Lyft and then persuading the drivers to defect to Uber. “Not only does Uber know about this, they’re actively encouraging these actions day to day and, in doing so, are flat-out lying both to their customers, the media, and their investors,” one whistleblower told the Verge.

I sought to apply proven methods of corporate subversion to a market that was woefully neglected by established players in the tech industry. The idea was so simple, I was surprised it hadn’t been done yet. If Uber could use stealthy labor-organizing-style tactics in its campaign to poach drivers from Lyft, why shouldn’t Lyft retaliate by covertly funding an actual employee union drive at Uber? Come to think of it, why shouldn’t any company that wanted to gain an edge over a competitor do this? It made intuitive sense on a business level, especially given how focused most American companies were on near-term results.

The spurious notion Jill Lepore, “The Disruption Machine,” New Yorker, June 23, 2014; Samantha Murphy, “Facebook Changes Its ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ Motto,” April 30, 2014, mashable.com; Katy Waldman, “Let’s Break Shit: A Short History of Silicon Valley’s Favorite Phrase,” December 5, 2014, slate.com. No More Woof Marc Lallanilla, “Speak, Fido: Device Promises Dog Translations,” January 3, 2014, livescience.com. Here again Uber pointed the way Erica Fink, “Uber’s Dirty Tricks Quantified: Rival Counts 5,560 Canceled Rides,” August 12, 2014, cnn.com. Operation SLOG Casey Newton, “This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft,” August 26, 2014, theverge.com. launched with $50 million in cash Amy Schatz, “Pressing Fwd.us: How Silicon Valley’s $50 Million Bet on Immigration Stalled,” October 15, 2014, recode.net. spent nearly $2 million on lobbying Senate Office of Public Records via opensecrets.org.


pages: 285 words: 58,517

The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models by Barry Libert, Megan Beck

active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversification, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, independent contractor, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift, pirate software, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, software as a service, software patent, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Daniel Ammann, GM’s president, said, “We think there’s going to be more change in the world of mobility in the next five years than there has been in the last 50,” and GM is getting ready for that change.1 From that perspective, Lyft is an excellent partner who will help GM turn their views of the market upside down. Lyft’s president John Zimmer stated, “We strongly believe that autonomous vehicle go-to-market strategy is through a network, not through individual car ownership.” According to executives at both GM and Lyft, they will start work on developing a network of self-driving vehicles—a challenge to Google, Tesla, and Uber, which are also devoting resources to this innovation.2 Openness Makes Space for Ongoing Change Will GM’s self-driving-car aspiration create value for the firm? Will its investment in Lyft lead to automotive leadership in ten years?

For example, Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, and Pinterest depend entirely on intangible contributions from the network. Other network companies access the physical assets of the network, such as Uber making use of customers’ cars, or Airbnb making use of customers’ real estate. The task of managing external assets, however, is entirely different from managing those owned by your firm. To maintain and grow access to a network’s assets, you must carefully manage the sentiment and engagement of the network itself. If Uber doesn’t keep its drivers happy, there are other ride-sharing networks such as Lyft and Sidecar ready to take them into the fold. Let’s reflect on your organization and pinpoint where you lie on the spectrum from tangible to intangible.

—Mark Fields, CEO, Ford Motor Company VISUALIZING YOUR ORGANIZATION AS A DIGITAL NETWORK, even in a small portion of the business, is a similar leap to the one made fifteen or more years ago by every great leader telling her teams and boards, “We need to get our organization online.” Most people did not know what that meant, but the best made the leap. To be sure, every industry is undergoing a change, including those grounded in physical assets—transportation and lodging. You’ve heard of Uber, and probably Lyft, and maybe even their car-sharing grandparent Zipcar—not to mention Getaround, RelayRides, Greenwheels, GoCar, and many more. Car sharing and driving-as-a-service are available in more than a thousand cities around the world. The accessibility and convenience of these options are a threat to the car industry as well as the taxi and limousine industries, as millennials seem happy to get around without either a driver’s license or car ownership.


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

Sarah Ashley O’Brien, “NYC Uber Drivers Protest Rate Cuts,” CNN Money (February 1, 2016), http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/01/technology/uber-nyc -protest/index.html?sr =twCNN020116uber-nyc-protest0317PMVODtopPhoto &linkId=20849630; Lyft, Nashville Drivers Make Up to $6000/Month Driving Your Car, https://www.lyft.com/drive-for-lyft?im=& inc= 6000& t=month &kw=Nashville%20Drivers& utm _ source =bing& utm _medium= search& utm _campaign=Driver_BNA _v2 _ Search _Brand _ All_Lyft& utm _term=lyft%20 com%20driver&adgroup =lyft _driver&device = c& matchtype =b. Uber, “Dynamic Pricing 101 | Uber,” YouTube (December 2014), https://www .youtube.com/watch?v=76q7PDnxWuE. Annie Lowrey, “Is Uber’s Surge-Pricing an Example of High-Tech Gouging?,” New York Times Magazine, January 10, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014 /01/12/magazine/is-ubers-surge-pricing-an-example-of-high-tech-gouging .html?

The super-platform at any moment may favor its own operations downstream over those provided by Uber. To put it differently, Uber’s biggest nightmare is not some obnoxious taxi commissioner seeking to hold on to a crumbling monopoly by refusing Uber entry into his city, nor is it another carservice platform like Lyft. The real fright comes from super-platforms like Google and Apple. Consumers may benefit from Uber’s fright when Uber improves ser vice, maintains competitive prices, and increases its investment in research and development. But Uber also sees the long shadow of the super-platforms, and realizes that it will likely be at a significant competitive disadvantage over the long run.

Matt Weinberger, “Microsoft Could See an Opportunity to Poke Google in the Eye with Uber Investment,” Business Insider UK (July 31, 2015), http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-and-google-are-uber-investors -2015-7. Nathaniel Mott, “Uber Should Fear the Company Formerly Known as Google,” Gigaom (August 11, 2015), https://gigaom.com/2015/08/11/uber-vs -alphabet-google/. Weinberger, “Microsoft Could See an Opportunity to Poke Google in the Eye with Uber Investment.” Douglas MacMillan, “GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft, Plans System for Self-Driving Cars,” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2016, http://www.wsj.com /article _email/gm-invests-500-million-in-lyft-plans-system-for-self-driving -cars-1451914204-lMyQjAxMTI2NTA2NDEwODQyWj.


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

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

Green and Zimmer connected, and in 2012 began to offer short rides in San Francisco. They called the new venture Lyft. Anyone could be a driver. In contrast to the upmarket “private driver” black car of early Uber, they provided Lyft drivers with pink mustaches to affix to the front of their cars. “Friendliness” and fist bumps were Lyft’s mode, a studied contrast to Uber’s ersatz limousine. Uber wasted no time in striking back, launching its own service with ordinary drivers. “We chose to compete,” Kalanick wrote in a blog post.3 And compete Uber did, and fiercely so. Its new business model was UberX, which adopted Lyft’s model and enrolled nonprofessional drivers who could work as little or as much as they wanted.

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

In San Francisco alone, Uber’s revenues were in the billions, compared to less than $200 million for taxis. By 2017, Uber was operating in 540 cities around the world; Lyft, 290 in the United States. In the United States, Uber had about 70 percent of ride hailing and Lyft, 30 percent. Internationally, in addition to DiDi, other major players have emerged, including Gett in Europe and Ola in India. Overall, ride hailing could be a very big industry. But the industry still had a major challenge—to prove that it could be profitable. In May 2019, Uber went public with an $82 billion valuation. But the costs of running it were greater than its revenues. What became apparent in the IPO was that it was losing money—billions of dollars.


pages: 240 words: 78,436

Open for Business Harnessing the Power of Platform Ecosystems by Lauren Turner Claire, Laure Claire Reillier, Benoit Reillier

Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, blockchain, carbon footprint, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, disintermediation, distributed ledger, future of work, George Akerlof, independent contractor, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, multi-sided market, Network effects, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, price discrimination, profit motive, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, Y Combinator

You may then have to acquire them, decide not to enter in these international markets, or invest more to catch up at a later stage. Companies such as Rocket Internet are famous for such strategies. Creating barriers to growth: Some competitors prevent access to new markets. Tencent has repeatedly blocked the Uber app on WeChat in 2015,15 with a ban in December 2015 days after Tencent-backed Didi Chuxing announced a global partnership with Lyft, GrabTaxi and Ola.16 Competitive pressure was too hard for Uber, and it led Uber China to merge with Didi.17 Mature platforms have a range of strategic options available to deal with increased competitive pressures, but we’ll focus here on two generic responses: (i) creating a platform-powered ecosystem; (ii) adding sides to their existing business models.

Eisenmann, G. Parker and M. Van Alstyne, Platform Envelopment, Harvard Business School Working Paper, 2010. Platform maturity: profitable growth 135 15 http://venturebeat.com/2015/12/06/uber-is-still-blocked-on-wechat-in-china-and-thesituation-is-getting-worse/ 16 http://venturebeat.com/2015/12/03/lyft-adds-grabtaxi-and-ola-to-its-faction-of-alliesagainst-uber/. 17 www.wsj.com/articles/china-s-didi-chuxing-to-acquire-rival-uber-s-chinese-operations1470024403. 18 Cainiao was formed by a consortium of existing logistics companies to give the project a running start. Alibaba itself took a 48% stake. 19 See https://techcrunch.com/2016/03/14/alibaba-backed-logistics-firm-cainiao-landsfunding-at-a-reported-7-7b-valuation/. 20 Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm).

The rise of platforms enabling the sharing economy movement – both in terms of renting other people’s cars or sharing rides with them – will no doubt have a profound impact on future demand for cars. Some observers are predicting a future where personal car ownership becomes a distant memory and an economic aberration. Recent moves by General Motors (who invested $500 million in Uber’s competitor Lyft and is forging strategic alliances with other platforms) suggest that some companies are taking notice and trying to secure orders from companies that will be tomorrow’s customers. Lyft is unlikely to become a car manufacturer and compete against GM, yet it is one of the companies disrupting the transportation market, which will definitely have an effect on demand for cars. These ‘second order’ effects can be missed if the assessment of possible platform disruption is too narrowly focused on the emergence of direct competitors.


pages: 296 words: 98,018

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

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

The case inspired the judges in the two cases, Edward Chen and Vince Chhabria, to grapple thoughtfully with the question of where power lurks in a new networked age. It was no surprise that Uber and Lyft took the rebel position. Like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft claimed not to be powerful. Uber argued that it was just a technology firm facilitating links between passengers and drivers, not a car service. The drivers who had signed contracts were robust agents of their own destiny. Judge Chen derided this argument. “Uber is no more a ‘technology company,’ ” he wrote, “than Yellow Cab is a ‘technology company’ because it uses CB radios to dispatch taxi cabs, John Deere is a ‘technology company’ because it uses computers and robots to manufacture lawn mowers, or Domino Sugar is a ‘technology company’ because it uses modern irrigation techniques to grow its sugar cane.”

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s allegations against Airbnb are contained here: www.dfeh.ca.gov/​wp-content/​uploads/​sites/​32/​2017/​06/​04-19-17-Airbnb-DFEH-Agreement-Signed-DFEH-1-1.pdf (accessed September 2017). Airbnb’s response to California’s charges is also contained in the above document. For Judge Chen’s ruling on Uber, see his “Order Denying Defendant Uber Technologies, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment” in O’Connor v. Uber, Case No. C-13-3826 EMC, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Docket No. 211. For Judge Chhabria’s ruling on Lyft, see his “Order Denying Cross-motions for Summary Judgment” in Cotter v. Lyft, Case No. 13-cv-04065-VC, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Dockets No. 69 and 74. On Bill Gates’s faith in technology’s leveling powers, see his book The Road Ahead (New York: Viking, 1995).

Therefore, the argument that Lyft is merely a platform, and that drivers perform no service for Lyft, is not a serious one. The judges believed Uber and Lyft to be more powerful than they were willing to admit, but they also conceded that the companies did not have the same power over employees as an old-economy employer like Walmart. “The jury in this case will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes,” Judge Chhabria wrote. Judge Chen, meanwhile, wondered whether Uber, despite a claim of impotence at the center of the network, exerted a kind of invisible power over drivers that might give them a case. In order to define this new power, he decided to turn where few judges do: the late French philosopher Michel Foucault.


pages: 290 words: 85,847

A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next by Tom Standage

active transport: walking or cycling, autonomous vehicles, car-free, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, City Beautiful movement, Clapham omnibus, congestion charging, coronavirus, COVID-19, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Ford paid five dollars a day, garden city movement, Ida Tarbell, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Joan Didion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbiased observer, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, wikimedia commons, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

Zimride’s founders had by this time hit upon the same idea and launched their own ride-hailing service, also accessed via a smartphone app, called Lyft. Starting in 2014, both companies introduced the option of shared trips, for riders willing to trade convenience for cost. Uber’s subsequent expansion into other countries around the world pitted it against local rivals using the same model: Ola in India, Didi Chuxing in China (itself the product of a merger between two Uber clones), Careem in the Middle East, and Grab in Southeast Asia. The ride-hailing market became fiercely competitive, prompting Uber to team up with local rivals in many parts of the world to avoid expensive price wars.

The possibility that cheap robotaxis could undermine car ownership explains why both ride-hailing firms, such as Uber and Lyft, and carmakers have been investing billions of dollars in autonomous-driving research. Any firm that develops a viable robotaxi would potentially be able to undercut both ride-hailing companies that rely on human drivers, and carmakers whose business model depends on selling people cars. Fear of this outcome has resulted in a constantly shifting web of alliances between AV start-ups, ride-hailing firms, and carmakers, as everyone tries to hedge bets. Waymo, for example, has partnerships with Lyft, Fiat Chrysler, and Jaguar Land Rover, while Toyota has invested in Uber’s AV unit.

Cars are also, by their nature, visible in public with their owners in a way that washing machines or wide-screen televisions, say, are not. In recent years, however, the idea that “you are what you drive” has come under pressure from various attempts to provide the benefits of cars without having to own them. Today a ride can be summoned when needed from a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft. Car-sharing clubs make renting a car for a few hours, or a couple of days, quick and easy using a smartphone app. Some start-ups are experimenting with services that let drivers subscribe to a car, paying a monthly fee for use of a specific vehicle or a pool of shared cars. Lynk & Co., a Chinese firm that describes itself as “Netflix for cars,” says it will let users subscribe for as little as one month at a time.


pages: 460 words: 107,454

Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy That Works for Progress, People and Planet by Klaus Schwab, Peter Vanham

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Apple II, Asian financial crisis, Asperger Syndrome, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, cyber-physical system, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, don't be evil, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google bus, high net worth, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, independent contractor, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mini-job, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, precariat, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, San Francisco homelessness, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shenzhen special economic zone , Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

GDP also goes up when banks post financial profits, but it remains stagnant when digital innovations get introduced that make our lives easier. 40 “The Treasury's Living Standards Framework,” New Zealand Government, December 2019, https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2019-12/lsf-dashboard-update-dec19.pdf. 41 “New Zealand's Ardern Wins 2nd Term in Election Landslide,” Associated Press, October 2020, https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-new-zealand-mosque-attacks-auckland-elections-new-zealand-b1ab788954f23f948d8b6c3258c02634. 42 “Uber and Lyft Drivers Guild Wins Historic Pay Rules,” Independent Drivers Guild, December 2018, https://drivingguild.org/uber-and-lyft-drivers-guild-wins-historic-pay-rules/. 43 I'm a New York City Uber Driver. The Pandemic Shows That My Industry Needs Fundamental Change or Drivers Will Never Recover,” Aziz Bah, Business Insider, July 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-drivers-covid-19-pandemic-virus-economy-right-bargain-2020-7?r=US&IR=T. 44 Humanity Forward, https://movehumanityforward.com/. 45 Data as a Property Right, Humanity Forward, https://movehumanityforward.com/data-property-right. 46 “Andrew Yang Is Pushing Big Tech to Pay Users for Data,” The Verge, June 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/22/21298919/andrew-yang-big-tech-data-dividend-project-facebook-google-ubi. 47 “A Modern Union for the Modern Economy,” Jeffrey M.

Uber Settles Driver Claims Before Disappointing IPO,” Forbes, May 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2019/05/13/worker-or-independent-contractor-uber-settles-driver-claims-before-disappointing-ipo/#7a157b93f39f. 18 “Uber and Lyft Drivers in California Will Remain Contractors”, Kate Conger, The New York Times, November 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/technology/california-uber-lyft-prop-22.html. 19 “Are Political Parties in Trouble?” Patrick Liddiard, Wilson Center, December 2018, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/happ_liddiard_are_political_parties_in_trouble_december_2018.pdf. 20 “A Deep Dive into Voter Turnout in Latin America,” Holly Sunderland, Americas Society / Council of the Americas, June 2018, https://www.as-coa.org/articles/chart-deep-dive-voter-turnout-latin-america. 21 “Historical Reported Voting Rates, Table A.1,” United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/voting-and-registration/voting-historical-time-series.html. 22 “How to Correctly Understand the General Requirements of Recruiting Party Members?”

A good place to start is probably with those gig workers who work exclusively for one platform or in one industry, such as drivers. It is what the Independent Drivers Guild in New York and Gig Workers Rising in California do. Both groups gather drivers who work primarily for Uber, Lyft, and other similar platforms and advocate for “better wages, working conditions, and respect.”50 It has led to some structural changes in the status and treatments of such drivers. In August 2020, a California court ordered ride-hailing and delivery apps such as Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees.51 It would require these companies to provide a minimum wage, health insurance, and overtime pay and paid sick leave, media reported.52 However, the court battles on this legislation continued into the Fall, and as we saw earlier, voters rejected Proposition 22 in November 2020, overturning much of the previous legislation on the matter, making Uber, Lyft, and other drivers contract workers once more.53 (At the time of writing, it continues to be battled in court by the platforms in question.)


pages: 460 words: 107,454

Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy That Works for Progress, People and Planet by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Apple II, Asian financial crisis, Asperger Syndrome, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, cyber-physical system, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, don't be evil, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google bus, high net worth, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, independent contractor, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mini-job, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, precariat, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, San Francisco homelessness, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shenzhen special economic zone , Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

GDP also goes up when banks post financial profits, but it remains stagnant when digital innovations get introduced that make our lives easier. 40 “The Treasury's Living Standards Framework,” New Zealand Government, December 2019, https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2019-12/lsf-dashboard-update-dec19.pdf. 41 “New Zealand's Ardern Wins 2nd Term in Election Landslide,” Associated Press, October 2020, https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-new-zealand-mosque-attacks-auckland-elections-new-zealand-b1ab788954f23f948d8b6c3258c02634. 42 “Uber and Lyft Drivers Guild Wins Historic Pay Rules,” Independent Drivers Guild, December 2018, https://drivingguild.org/uber-and-lyft-drivers-guild-wins-historic-pay-rules/. 43 I'm a New York City Uber Driver. The Pandemic Shows That My Industry Needs Fundamental Change or Drivers Will Never Recover,” Aziz Bah, Business Insider, July 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-drivers-covid-19-pandemic-virus-economy-right-bargain-2020-7?r=US&IR=T. 44 Humanity Forward, https://movehumanityforward.com/. 45 Data as a Property Right, Humanity Forward, https://movehumanityforward.com/data-property-right. 46 “Andrew Yang Is Pushing Big Tech to Pay Users for Data,” The Verge, June 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/22/21298919/andrew-yang-big-tech-data-dividend-project-facebook-google-ubi. 47 “A Modern Union for the Modern Economy,” Jeffrey M.

Uber Settles Driver Claims Before Disappointing IPO,” Forbes, May 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2019/05/13/worker-or-independent-contractor-uber-settles-driver-claims-before-disappointing-ipo/#7a157b93f39f. 18 “Uber and Lyft Drivers in California Will Remain Contractors”, Kate Conger, The New York Times, November 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/technology/california-uber-lyft-prop-22.html. 19 “Are Political Parties in Trouble?” Patrick Liddiard, Wilson Center, December 2018, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/happ_liddiard_are_political_parties_in_trouble_december_2018.pdf. 20 “A Deep Dive into Voter Turnout in Latin America,” Holly Sunderland, Americas Society / Council of the Americas, June 2018, https://www.as-coa.org/articles/chart-deep-dive-voter-turnout-latin-america. 21 “Historical Reported Voting Rates, Table A.1,” United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/voting-and-registration/voting-historical-time-series.html. 22 “How to Correctly Understand the General Requirements of Recruiting Party Members?”

A good place to start is probably with those gig workers who work exclusively for one platform or in one industry, such as drivers. It is what the Independent Drivers Guild in New York and Gig Workers Rising in California do. Both groups gather drivers who work primarily for Uber, Lyft, and other similar platforms and advocate for “better wages, working conditions, and respect.”50 It has led to some structural changes in the status and treatments of such drivers. In August 2020, a California court ordered ride-hailing and delivery apps such as Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees.51 It would require these companies to provide a minimum wage, health insurance, and overtime pay and paid sick leave, media reported.52 However, the court battles on this legislation continued into the Fall, and as we saw earlier, voters rejected Proposition 22 in November 2020, overturning much of the previous legislation on the matter, making Uber, Lyft, and other drivers contract workers once more.53 (At the time of writing, it continues to be battled in court by the platforms in question.)


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

Unless you are violent, disruptive, or otherwise problematic, the driver can’t refuse you a ride based on your skin color or some star rating you’ve accumulated. You can also expect to pay a standard fare, unlike with Uber and Lyft, which are known to institute surge pricing to leverage high demand. Uber claims that surge pricing represents a market-based solution and offers a fair price based on availability. Except that Uber controls the market. They decide how many cars are on the road—the company has been caught asking drivers to stay off the road in order to drive up rates. At the same time, Uber has presented itself as a populist operation with a low threshold for entry. They’ve even established financing programs to help potential drivers get cheaper deals on cars from General Motors and Toyota.

The sharing economy includes some online labor outlets, such as TaskRabbit, in which independent contractors perform menial tasks, such as fetching groceries or assembling furniture, for small fees. Companies such as Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar provide taxi-type services, but they almost never call themselves taxi or transportation companies. This is because the transportation industry is highly regulated, something that Uber would like to disrupt. Government, with its pernicious regulatory apparatus, is simply making the market inefficient and costing consumers and businesspeople in both cash and intimacy with one another. (For a time, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, used a cropped cover of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for his Twitter avatar before replacing it with a drawing of Alexander Hamilton’s face.

Nov. 28, 2013. testosteronepit.com/home/2013/11/28/how-much-is-my-private-data-worth-google-just-offered-me.html. 330 How much Google pays for data: ibid. 330 Data managers: World Economic Forum. “Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage.” Feb. 2013. www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_IT_UnlockingValuePersonalData_CollectionUsage_Report_2013.pdf. 331 “the functional end of the app”: Liz Gannes. “Lyft and Uber Price Wars Leave Some Drivers Feeling Crunched.” Recode. April 30, 2014. recode.net/2014/04/30/lyft-and-uber-price-wars-leave-some-drivers-feeling-crunched. 339 Bradbury’s comments on the Internet: Jennifer Steinhauer. “A Literary Legend Fights for a Local Library.” New York Times. June 19, 2009. nytimes.com/2009/06/20/us/20ventura.html. 341 “I think in tweets”: David Roberts.


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

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

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

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

Standing behind a table with another Volkswagen-branded signboard behind him, Müller, white-haired and lean, told reporters that the company had initiated the biggest transformation in its history. VW would reshape itself to become one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable transport. “The term evolution would be too weak for what we’re facing,” Müller declared. Three weeks earlier, following GM’s investment in Lyft and on the same day that Toyota announced a strategic partnership with Uber, VW had announced that it would invest $300 million in the ridebooking app Gett. Within days of that news, the German media were reporting rumors that VW planned to spend up to $11 billion on an advanced battery factory that would rival Tesla’s Gigafactory. (In March 2018, the company announced that it would spend $25 billion to secure batteries for electric-vehicle production at sixteen of its factories.)


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

These southeastern startups are also invested in by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, which has strategically put money behind one ride-hailing entrant in each region, including Didi in China. In a repeat of Uber’s saga in China, regional leader Grab—backed by Didi, SoftBank, and Alibaba—acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian business in 2018, then merged it. Don’t look for Didi to try entering the United States and compete with Uber on its home turf. Uber and Lyft are already too well entrenched, and battles for position have intensified with Lyft claiming a 35 market share next to dominant Uber, which faced several troubling scandals. With both now publicly traded companies, they could spark a sharing economy IPO parade.

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

China’s tech titans have invested in and acquired startups and cutting-edge emerging companies throughout leading hubs worldwide, formed Sand Hill Road venture capital units, set up R&D outfits close to engineering talent, and angled into Hollywood moviemaking in a bid for soft power. In this outward reach, China investment in US tech companies reached $51.4 billion from 2010 through 2018, led by megadeals in America’s top trophy startups Uber, Lyft, and Magic Leap.35 Recent US regulatory hurdles and a Beijing crackdown on high-priced, debt-laden deals have curbed the action. But the innovation engine keeps going, and so does venture capital from Silicon Valley and China funds to fuel it. In the wake of heightened regulations and uncertainty, Chinese tech deal makers are shifting to smaller, highly strategic transactions in the United States and turning to more welcoming markets internationally.


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

Akerlof, “Writing the ‘The Market for “Lemons”’: A Personal and Interpretive Essay,” Nobelprize.org, November 14, 2003, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/2001/akerlof-article.html. 207 “if this paper were correct”: Ibid. 207 50 million rides per month: Eric Newcomer, “Lyft Is Gaining on Uber as It Spends Big for Growth,” Bloomberg, last modified April 14, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-14/lyft-is-gaining-on-uber-as-it-spends-big-for-growth. 208 In 2013, California passed regulations: Tomio Geron, “California Becomes First State to Regulate Ridesharing Services Lyft, Sidecar, UberX,” Forbes, September 19, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2013/09/19/california-becomes-first-state-to-regulate-ridesharing-services-lyft-sidecar-uberx/#6b22c10967fe. 208 by August 2016, BlaBlaCar still did not require them: BlaBlaCar, “Frequently Asked Questions: Is It Safe for Me to Enter My Govt.

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

Medallion-holding incumbents found it difficult to reverse their losses, because Uber’s two-sided network effects, smooth user interface and user experience, and ample capital were formidable advantages. Attempts to build competing platforms such as Lyft in the United States and Hailo in Europe did not slow down the fast-growing startup. The only thing that could, it sometimes seemed, was regulation. Utility Players? The legality of the Uber platform has been challenged around the world, and new rules and statutes about transportation services have been proposed and passed. It is sometimes hard to avoid the impression that they were written with Uber and its platform peers in mind, and with the intent of handicapping them.


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 they’re not important, but that they’re not integral to the ride-matching business model. Complaints that come from drivers are a little different. So long as Lyft and Uber and the others are in competition with one another, they’re going to be under pressure to cut prices, which inevitably comes out of the pockets of their drivers. And so long as they’re able to offer such great service by saturating neighborhoods with cars, they’re not just competing with other companies. Uber’s own drivers are, inevitably, competing with one another, and a significant number of them are working for what amounts to a little above minimum wage.

c According to Hal Johnson, UTA’s manager of Project Development, campus parking—ten thousand total spaces—was at 96 percent capacity in the fall of 2001. By 2013, that had dropped to 70 percent, entirely because of the number of students using the University Line. d At Uber, ridesharing—people traveling from roughly the same origin to about the same destination, while splitting the cost of the trip at a discount—is rare enough that it has its own name: uberPOOL. e Lyft, the Avis to Uber’s Hertz, operates in a third as many markets. f I’m considering trademarking the term: Total gridlock™. g If you’re thinking that creative industry is another Humpty Dumpty phrase, you’re right.

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


pages: 389 words: 87,758

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar

Bill Gurley, “A deeper look at Uber’s dynamic pricing model,” Above the Crowd, March 11, 2014, http://abovethecrowd.com/20l4/03/11/a-deeper-look-at-ubers-dynamic-pricing-model/; Matthew Panzarino, “Leaked Uber numbers, which we’ve confirmed, point to over $1B gross, $213M revenue,” TechCrunch, December 4, 2013, http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/04/leaked-uber-numbers-which-weve-confirmed-point-to-over-1b-gross-revenue-213m-revenue. 47. Salvador Rodriguez, “Lyft surpasses 1 million rides, expands to Washington, D.C.,” Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/09/business/la-fi-tn-lyft-1-million-washington-dc-20130808. 48.

The service was so popular that in one year, Homeplus expanded its virtual stores to more than twenty bus stops. US start-up Instacart now offers customers in ten cities the ability to order goods from multiple stores through one website and get them delivered in one hour. Car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Lyft and transport services such as Uber are becoming increasingly popular among urban residents who have chosen not to purchase their own cars. The growing ubiquity of such shared services may be hard to replicate outside dense urban environments, but they are not unique to developed economies. In many emerging-market cities, similar services are already routinely offered though informal arrangements with mom-and-pop stores and service providers in local communities and neighborhoods.

Data-as-service start-ups are booming, and giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP have spent billions of dollars in the past several years snapping up companies that develop software for advanced data analytics. In fact, intangible digital assets—such as behavioral data on consumers and tracking data from logistics—can be the seeds of entirely new products and services. The disruption in taxi services is one example. Uber uses algorithms to determine “surge” prices in times of peak demand.46 Lyft, another on-demand ride-sharing start-up, employs a “happy hour” pricing model to lower rates in times of soft demand.47 Health care is another example of a sector where the marriage of data, analytical models, and decision-support tools—all key components of digital capital—can create immense economic value, improve customer experience, and create difficult-to-replicate capabilities.


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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

v=UwMhGsKeYo4&t=3s. 21. Shontell, Alyson. “Uber is the world’s largest job creator, adding about 50,000 drivers per month, says board member.” Business Insider. March 15, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-offering-50000-jobs-per-month-to-drivers-2015-3. 22. Uber Estimate. http://uberestimator.com/cities. 23. Nelson, Laura J. “Uber and Lyft have devastated L.A.’s taxi industry, city records show.” Los Angeles Times. April 14, 2016. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uber-lyft-taxis-la-20160413-story.html. 24. Schneider, Todd W. “Taxi, Uber, and Lyft Usage in New York City.” February 2017. http://toddwschneider.com/posts/taxi-uber-lyft-usage-new-york-city/. 25.

February 2017. http://toddwschneider.com/posts/taxi-uber-lyft-usage-new-york-city/. 25. “Scott Galloway: Switch to Nintendo.” 26. Deamicis, Carmel. “Uber Expands Its Same-Day Delivery Service: ‘It’s No Longer an Experiment’.” Recode. October 14, 2015. https://www.recode.net/2015/10/14/11619548/uber-gets-serious-about-delivery-its-no-longer-an-experiment. 27. Smith, Ben. “Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt on Journalists.” BuzzFeed. November 17, 2014. https://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/uber-executive-suggests-digging-up-dirt-on-journalists?utm_term=.rcBNNLypG#.bhlEEWy0N. 28. Warzel, Charlie. “Sexist French Uber Promotion Pairs Riders With ‘Hot Chick’ Drivers.”

If you’re a decathlete, the key is to find the event with the greatest variance in performance and own it. Uber is a great product, but I’d challenge you to identify (without knowing which ride-sharing platform you booked through) the difference between Uber, Lyft, Curb, and Didi Chuxing. The category is a 10x improvement over cabs and black cars, but there is an increasing sameness among ride-sharing players. This has likely been the case for a while, but Uber’s CEO frat rock (that is, shit for brains) behavior has prompted people to discover on their own that Lyft is the same thing. The Airbnb platform takes on greater importance as an arbiter of trust, as there is greater variance in the product—a houseboat in Marin vs. a townhouse in South Kensington.


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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

The Plight of the Gig Worker “Gig work” seems to have reached a new apex with the rise of companies like Uber. Consider the typical non-medallion taxi driver in New York, who might work for three or more companies at once: Uber, Lyft, and perhaps even an unlicensed cab firm. There is some truth to the claim that such people are essentially entrepreneurs, with all the freedom that working for themselves entails. With Uber, drivers set their own hours and are in a sense their own boss, something Kalanick always lauded as highly empowering. “There is a core independence and dignity you get when you control your own time,” he told me in 2015. Fair enough. But that’s about all Uber drivers are in control of.

In her book Uberland, the social scientist Alex Rosenblat rode five thousand miles with numerous Uber drivers in twenty-five cities across the United States and Canada. She found that, not surprisingly, while Uber itself took most of the upside of the business, drivers were often left to bear the cost and the downsides of the disruptive technology on their own. Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor, has always been known as the kinder, gentler ridesharing company, in part because its CEO Logan Green has been more inclined to discuss the downsides of the sharing economy in a thoughtful and open way (that and the fact that he hasn’t been caught on a dashcam screaming at his own drivers).

After New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor did a front-page exposé about the topic in 2014, then-chairman Howard Schultz was forced to apologize and promise to clean up the company’s scheduling system.16 Yet, at Starbucks and, alas, at most other retailers, algorithmic scheduling has become the norm—just like “surge” pricing at Uber or Lyft. Clearly, the advent of the high-tech gig economy means different things to different kinds of workers. For the Uber driver or the delivery person, it may feel like a kind of neo-serfdom. They get no pension, health insurance, or worker-rights protection, and work at the mercy of metrics. Many of the drivers profiled in Rosenblat’s book struggle to make much more than minimum wage, after paying for their car, their gas, maintenance, self-employment taxes, and so on. Certainly, in my own interviews with Uber drivers, I’ve found that most see a tight trade-off between the benefits of their theoretical freedom and the fact that always-on technology can actually mean less flexibility than they might have in a higher-quality job.


Autonomous Driving: How the Driverless Revolution Will Change the World by Andreas Herrmann, Walter Brenner, Rupert Stadler

Airbnb, Airbus A320, algorithmic bias, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, carbon footprint, cleantech, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, crowdsourcing, cyber-physical system, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, demand response, digital map, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intermodal, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Mars Rover, Masdar, megacity, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer rental, precision agriculture, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Zipcar

It is an economic exchange; consumers are more interested in reducing costs and increasing convenience than they are in fostering social relationships with the company or other consumers. For example, we are currently seeing the rise of Uber in the short-term ride-sharing market. Uber’s core values are its pricing, reliability and convenience better, faster and cheaper than a taxi. In comparison, Lyft, which offers an almost identical service, positions itself as friendly we’re your friend with a car and part of your community greet your driver with a fist bump. Lyft has not seen at all as much growth as Uber; one reason is because they put too much emphasis on consumers’ desire to bond with each other rather than gain access to a vehicle.

Ford’s former CEO, Mark Fields, has announced that the autopilot is to be democratised by providing inexpensive mobility to as many people as possible. He plans to develop Ford into a mobility service, offering driving services with autonomous vehicles (similar to Uber) and producing the cars for such a service itself. General Motors has invested enormously in the mobility platform Lyft, announcing plans to set up an on-demand network of self-driving cars. John Zimmer, president of Lyft, expects car ownership in megacities to be of little importance in 10 years. In 2016, Lyft already organised about 14.6 million rides per month, three times as many as a year before. So far, Cadillac is the only General Motors brand equipped with the technology for autonomous driving.

Ownership Access and Sharing User as Use of one’s Rental car sharing, business-to-consumer (DriveNow, driver own car Car2Go) and peer-to-peer (Croove, Getaround) User as passenger Use of a taxi Ride sharing (Uber, Lyft) and carpooling (BlaBlaCar) Source: The authors. Note: Mobility apps can link up the various modes of transportation so that the user can identify the fastest and most convenient way to get from one place to another. The Sharing Economy 343 sharing (DriveNow, car2go, Flinkster, Mobility, ReachNow, ZipCar) and with peer-to-peer car sharing (Drivy, Tamyca, Croove, CarUnity, Sharoo, Turo, Getaround), users have to drive the cars themselves. With ride sharing (Uber, Lyft, myTaxi) or carpooling (BlaBlaCar), they are driven by a chauffeur.


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

You might say Maples prefers to back what is righteous rather than what is legal. Why does he love pitches in that legal gray area? “Those could be good businesses to fund because a lot of times there are not a lot of competitors,” he explains. (Even though Uber has a competing ride-sharing service, UberX, Maples points out that Lyft started before Uber launched UberX.) Whether the laws eventually side with the entrepreneur’s venture or against it is a huge risk—the kind that many people are afraid to take—but that is precisely what makes the bet attractive; if it turns out to be right, the gain will be enormous and, because it is a nonconsensus venture, it won’t be shared by many others.

The Truckless Trucking Company * * * Long before there was Lyft and before there was Uber, and well before mobile devices or even the Internet, there was C. H. Robinson. The company, founded back in 1905, in 2014 ranked #220 on the Fortune 500, the annual list of the highest-grossing companies in the United States. Its annual revenues of $12.7 billion put C. H. Robinson just ahead of household brands Toys ‘R’ Us and Nordstrom and well above Facebook and Harley-Davidson. If you haven’t heard of this behemoth from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, it’s only because its customers are other businesses: rather than arranging rides for busy urbanites, as Lyft and Uber do, C.

Bridges as Two-Sided Markets * * * Lacking both experience and theoretical knowledge, she didn’t realize that the bridge she was trying to build had the interesting properties of what economists call a two-sided market. These days, two-sided markets (sometimes called two-sided networks or two-sided platforms) are everywhere because many of today’s Internet start-ups are middlemen businesses of exactly this type: whether you’re talking about connecting homeowners with guests (Airbnb) or drivers with fares (Lyft and Uber) workers with small jobs (TaskRabbit) restaurants with diners wanting take-out meals (GrubHub, Eat24) or doctors with patients (ZocDoc), you’re describing a two-sided market. At the same time, and maybe not coincidentally, the study of two-sided markets has become a popular field among academics, with many opinions about what counts as a two-sided market.


pages: 340 words: 100,151

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, carried interest, cloud computing, compensation consultant, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, family office, fixed income, high net worth, index fund, information asymmetry, Lean Startup, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Myron Scholes, Network effects, Paul Graham, pets.com, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Startup school, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, VA Linux, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Among the reasons for this are that a VC can only sit on so many boards, so every time she fills up a slot on her dance card, she necessarily reduces her availability to invest in other companies. Another form of opportunity cost comes from conflicts: as a VC you can’t really invest in Facebook and Friendster or Lyft and Uber. Rather, the decision to invest in a company likely means that you are conflicted out of other companies that are directly competitive. To be clear, there is no prohibition against this, but the convention of the business makes this hard to do—as a VC you are lending your name and your firm’s brand to your investments, so it’s hard to invest in direct competitors without creating challenges for both companies in the marketplace.

Raising capital—This is an obvious one, but interestingly has declined in importance over the years as a major driver for companies to go public. It used to be that companies needed to go public because the private market tapped out pretty quickly when you started to contemplate raising $100 million-plus financing rounds. Now those are a dime a dozen, and we see some companies raising billions of dollars in the private marketplace—e.g., Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Pinterest, among others. There’s an ongoing chicken-and-egg debate about what created this—did the big financial players start investing in the private markets because startups were delaying going public, or did startups start delaying going public because they could raise huge sums of money in the private markets?

Will it ultimately be big enough and material to accomplishing my objectives as a VC? We mentioned Airbnb earlier in the context of discussing market size to illustrate that the answer to this question might not always be obvious. Now let’s look at Lyft as a way to show how you can best position market size as an entrepreneur. When Lyft was getting started (Lyft actually started as another company called Zimride, a long-distance ride-sharing company), it wasn’t obvious how big the market for ride-sharing could be. A lot of people evaluating the financing opportunity started with the existing taxi market as a proxy for market size and made some assumptions about what percentage of that market a ride-sharing service could reasonably capture.


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

Let’s consider more of the strange ways that percentages can behave. In late April 2016, Uber was delivering about 161,000 rides per day in New York City while Lyft was delivering about 29,000 a day. 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.

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. So it looks like we could say that Lyft is responsible for 31,000 / 108,000 × 100 = 29% of the increase in overall rides. But that is odd. We said Lyft is responsible for about 24 percent of the increase in rides that ride-hailing services provide, but now we’re saying that Lyft is responsible for about 34 percent of the increase in rides by ride-hailing or taxi.

Science 251 (1991): 1408–11. Tefft, B. C., A. F. Williams, and J. G. Grabowski. “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers, United States, 2007–2010.” Traffic Injury Prevention 14 (2013): 283–92. Todd W. Schneider (blog). “Taxi, Uber, and Lyft Usage in New York City.” Schneider, Todd. April 5, 2016. http://toddwschneider.com/​posts/​taxi-uber-lyft-usage-new-york-city/. “Truthiness.” Dictionary.com. http://www.dictionary.com/​browse/​truthiness. “Use this Equation to Determine, Diagnose, and Repair Trust.” First Round Review. 2018. http://firstround.com/​review/​use-this-equation-to-determine-diagnose-and-repair-trust/.


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Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

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

“There were more and more people jumping on to Lyft and Uber, especially Uber, and then at one point, Uber was doing this special thing to try and get more passengers, where they did a discount or they took out the service charge for passengers,” Heather Smith, an Uber and Lyft driver, told me. (I agreed to withhold her real last name, to avoid retaliation by her employers.) “When I would look at my breakdown of payment, I was basically seeing them pay themselves and then take half the service charge and then pay me. I said, ‘Fuck it. Good-bye, Uber.’ ” She told me that she did make decent money mentoring new drivers for Lyft. “Well, they didn’t compensate for me doing the calls and stuff like that, but once I would meet with the person and do a mentor session, which is usually like thirty minutes, forty-five at the max, then I would be paid $35 just for that session,” she said.

“Was that enough to live on in Pittsburgh?” “No.” Companies like Uber can pay their workers so little because they are often not employees. On-demand, gig-economy firms usually do not hire their drivers or shoppers or delivery workers, instead classifying them as contractors and buying their services. That means that the companies are not subject to minimum-wage rules. They do not need to divert their workers’ paychecks into unemployment-insurance funds or Social Security. They are not required to offer health care to workers who spend full-time hours on the clock. Many Uber and Lyft drivers feel the companies had misled them, promising, if not employment in a traditional sense, a stake in something.

Uber is just the biggest and most visible of these players. Others include the freelance-services marketplace Fiverr, Uber’s ridesharing rival Lyft, the grocery delivery company Instacart, and the do-anything handyman service TaskRabbit, now part of Ikea. Nobody quite knows the size of the diverse and chaotic and fast-changing pool of workers serving these businesses, but estimates drift as high as 45 million. For all these start-ups, the basic business model is the same. The company offers a Web- or mobile-based platform, light and endlessly scalable to new consumers. That platform connects individuals offering a product or service to folks in search of that product or service, whether it be a ride, a sandwich, or a hand to change hard-to-reach lightbulbs.


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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

Lyft’, Bloomberg Second Measure, 2020 <https://secondmeasure.com/datapoints/rideshare-industry-overview/> [accessed 23 September 2020]. 54 ‘Gig Economy Research’, Gov.uk, 7 February 2018 <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gig-economy-research> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 55 Ravi Agrawal, ‘The Hidden Benefits of Uber’, Foreign Policy, 16 July 2018 <https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/16/why-india-gives-uber-5-stars-gig-economy-jobs/> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 56 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ‘Gig Economy Research’, Gov.uk, 7 February 2018 <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gig-economy-research> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 57 Directorate General for Internal Policies, The Social Protection of Workers in the Platform Economy, Study for the EMPL Committee, IP/A/EMPL/2016-11 (European Parliament, 2017). 58 Nicole Karlis, ‘DoorDash Drivers Make an Average of $1.45 an Hour, Analysis Finds’, Salon, 19 January 2020 <https://www.salon.com/2020/01/19/doordash-drivers-make-an-average-of-145-an-hour-analysis-finds/> [accessed 27 March 2021]. 59 Kate Conger, ‘Uber and Lyft Drivers in California Will Remain Contractors’, New York Times, 4 November 2020 <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/technology/california-uber-lyft-prop-22.html> [accessed 12 January 2021]. 60 Mary-Ann Russon, ‘Uber Drivers Are Workers Not Self-Employed, Supreme Court Rules’, BBC News, 19 February 2021 <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56123668> [accessed 29 March 2021]. 61 ‘Judgement: Uber BV and Others (Appellants) v Aslam and Others (Respondents)’, 19 February 2021 <https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2019-0029-judgment.pdf> [accessed 19 March 2021]. 62 ‘Frederick Winslow Taylor: Father of Scientific Management Thinker’, The British Library <https://www.bl.uk/people/frederick-winslow-taylor> [accessed 29 March 2021]. 63 Nikil Saval, Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace (New York: Anchor Books, 2015), p. 42. 64 Saval, Cubed, p. 56. 65 Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese and danah boyd, Workplace Surveillance (Data & Society Research Institute, 4 January 2017) <https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/7ryk4>. 66 ‘In March 2017, the Japanese Government Formulated the Work Style Reform Action Plan.’, Social Innovation, September 2017 <https://social-innovation.hitachi/en/case_studies/ai_happiness/> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 67 Alex Hern, ‘Microsoft Productivity Score Feature Criticised as Workplace Surveillance’, The Guardian, 26 November 2020 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/nov/26/microsoft-productivity-score-feature-criticised-workplace-surveillance> [accessed 1 April 2021]. 68 Stephen Chen, ‘Chinese Surveillance Programme Mines Data from Workers’ Brains’, South China Morning Post, 28 April 2018 <https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2143899/forget-facebook-leak-china-mining-data-directly-workers-brains> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 69 Robert Booth, ‘Unilever Saves on Recruiters by Using AI to Assess Job Interviews’, The Guardian, 25 October 2019 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/25/unilever-saves-on-recruiters-by-using-ai-to-assess-job-interviews> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 70 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, ‘Workplace Technology: The Employee Experience’ (CIPD: July 2020) <https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/workplace-technology-1_tcm18-80853.pdf> [accessed 19 May 2021]. 71 Sarah O’Connor, ‘When Your Boss Is an Algorithm’, Financial Times, 7 September 2016 <https://www.ft.com/content/88fdc58e-754f-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35> [accessed 3 August 2020]. 72 Tom Barratt et al., ‘Algorithms Workers Can’t See Are Increasingly Pulling the Management Strings’, Management Today, 25 August 2020 <http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/article/1692636?

., 23 February 2021 <https://investors.upwork.com/news-releases/news-release-details/upwork-reports-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2020-financial> [accessed 21 April 2021]. 53 Lijin Yeo, ‘The U.S. Rideshare Industry: Uber vs. Lyft’, Bloomberg Second Measure, 2020 <https://secondmeasure.com/datapoints/rideshare-industry-overview/> [accessed 23 September 2020]. 54 ‘Gig Economy Research’, Gov.uk, 7 February 2018 <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gig-economy-research> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 55 Ravi Agrawal, ‘The Hidden Benefits of Uber’, Foreign Policy, 16 July 2018 <https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/16/why-india-gives-uber-5-stars-gig-economy-jobs/> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 56 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, ‘Gig Economy Research’, Gov.uk, 7 February 2018 <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gig-economy-research> [accessed 21 September 2020]. 57 Directorate General for Internal Policies, The Social Protection of Workers in the Platform Economy, Study for the EMPL Committee, IP/A/EMPL/2016-11 (European Parliament, 2017). 58 Nicole Karlis, ‘DoorDash Drivers Make an Average of $1.45 an Hour, Analysis Finds’, Salon, 19 January 2020 <https://www.salon.com/2020/01/19/doordash-drivers-make-an-average-of-145-an-hour-analysis-finds/> [accessed 27 March 2021]. 59 Kate Conger, ‘Uber and Lyft Drivers in California Will Remain Contractors’, New York Times, 4 November 2020 <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/technology/california-uber-lyft-prop-22.html> [accessed 12 January 2021]. 60 Mary-Ann Russon, ‘Uber Drivers Are Workers Not Self-Employed, Supreme Court Rules’, BBC News, 19 February 2021 <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56123668> [accessed 29 March 2021]. 61 ‘Judgement: Uber BV and Others (Appellants) v Aslam and Others (Respondents)’, 19 February 2021 <https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2019-0029-judgment.pdf> [accessed 19 March 2021]. 62 ‘Frederick Winslow Taylor: Father of Scientific Management Thinker’, The British Library <https://www.bl.uk/people/frederick-winslow-taylor> [accessed 29 March 2021]. 63 Nikil Saval, Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace (New York: Anchor Books, 2015), p. 42. 64 Saval, Cubed, p. 56. 65 Alex Rosenblat, Tamara Kneese and danah boyd, Workplace Surveillance (Data & Society Research Institute, 4 January 2017) <https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/7ryk4>. 66 ‘In March 2017, the Japanese Government Formulated the Work Style Reform Action Plan.’, Social Innovation, September 2017 <https://social-innovation.hitachi/en/case_studies/ai_happiness/> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 67 Alex Hern, ‘Microsoft Productivity Score Feature Criticised as Workplace Surveillance’, The Guardian, 26 November 2020 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/nov/26/microsoft-productivity-score-feature-criticised-workplace-surveillance> [accessed 1 April 2021]. 68 Stephen Chen, ‘Chinese Surveillance Programme Mines Data from Workers’ Brains’, South China Morning Post, 28 April 2018 <https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2143899/forget-facebook-leak-china-mining-data-directly-workers-brains> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 69 Robert Booth, ‘Unilever Saves on Recruiters by Using AI to Assess Job Interviews’, The Guardian, 25 October 2019 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/25/unilever-saves-on-recruiters-by-using-ai-to-assess-job-interviews> [accessed 6 October 2020]. 70 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, ‘Workplace Technology: The Employee Experience’ (CIPD: July 2020) <https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/workplace-technology-1_tcm18-80853.pdf> [accessed 19 May 2021]. 71 Sarah O’Connor, ‘When Your Boss Is an Algorithm’, Financial Times, 7 September 2016 <https://www.ft.com/content/88fdc58e-754f-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35> [accessed 3 August 2020]. 72 Tom Barratt et al., ‘Algorithms Workers Can’t See Are Increasingly Pulling the Management Strings’, Management Today, 25 August 2020 <http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/article/1692636?

The state of California passed Assembly Bill 5 in 2019, which mandated freelancers to be classified as employees and so have access to the requisite perks. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash were not keen. Through the most expensive lobbying effort in Californian history, they successfully got the state to pass Proposition 22, which granted them an exception – to keep classifying their drivers as independent contractors, albeit with some wage and health protections.59 A similar battle was underway across the Atlantic. In London, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, two drivers, took Uber to court, arguing that they weren’t self-employed but should be considered workers under British law.


pages: 244 words: 66,977

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

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

Oh, and guess what? Uber does in fact offer monthly subscriptions. Right now Uber is testing a flat-rate subscription service in several cities. Users can pay a monthly fee in exchange for bundles of reduced-rate trips with no surge pricing. In other words, Uber will cut you a deal on rides in exchange for steady business. The company may take a short-term profitability hit, but the goal is to gain long-term customer loyalty in a very young and turbulent market—and this customer loyalty is becoming more and more important as ridesharing becomes a commodity. Here in the Bay Area, the Uber and Lyft markets are really fluid.

That experience let us see a future world where car ownership would not be necessary. Today more than 60 million riders use Uber and Lyft. These ridesharing services have ushered in a whole new set of consumer priorities: Why buy a car at all, when all you need to do to get from point A to point B is pull out your phone? Why can’t I just subscribe to transportation the same way I subscribe to electricity and internet access? But wait, you might say. Uber isn’t a subscription service—there are no monthly fees. I disagree. It sure looks and feels like a digital subscription service to me. Uber has your ID and all your payment particulars, and it employs usage-based pricing so that you pay for only what you use.

All due respect to other potential ecommerce vendors, but Amazon has my business, in no small part due to Amazon Prime—they hooked me with the free shipping, and now I’ve got music, movies, and all sorts of other services. I’m not going anywhere. Uber and Lyft are both vying for that same lock-in effect by offering discounted services around consistent consumption patterns—in other words, they’re going after my commute. As Lyft president John Zimmer, anticipating fully autonomous vehicles, told The New York Times: “The cost of owning a car is $9,000 a year. Let’s say we offer a $500 monthly plan in which you can tap a button and get access to transportation whenever you want it, and you get to choose your room-on-wheels experience.


pages: 208 words: 57,602

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic bias, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, automated trading system, basic income, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, choice architecture, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, disinformation, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Freestyle chess, future of work, gig economy, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, hustle culture, income inequality, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Productivity paradox, QAnon, recommendation engine, remote working, risk tolerance, robotic process automation, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, surveillance capitalism, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

In these jobs, most of the work is directed and overseen by machines, and humans act as the gap-fillers, doing only the things the machines can’t yet do on their own. Prominent examples of machine-managed jobs include gig work for companies like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, along with the work performed by Amazon warehouse workers, Facebook and Twitter content moderators, and other people whose jobs consist mainly of carrying out instructions given to them by a machine. Machine-managed jobs are less about collaborating with AI systems, and more about serving them. An Uber driver is not “collaborating” with Uber’s ride-matching algorithm, any more than a military cadet is “collaborating” with the drill sergeant who gives her marching orders.

I interviewed users of social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, who had thought that those platforms’ AI-driven recommendation systems would help them find interesting and relevant content, but who had instead been led down rabbit holes filled with misinformation and conspiracy theories. I heard about teachers whose schools had implemented high-tech “personalized learning” systems in hopes of improving student outcomes, but who had found themselves fumbling with broken tablet computers and erratic software. I listened to the complaints of Uber and Lyft drivers who had been lured by the promise of flexible employment, but then found themselves suffering under the thumb of a draconian algorithm that nudged them to work longer hours, punished them for taking breaks, and constantly manipulated their pay. All of these stories seemed to indicate that AI and automation were working well for some people—namely, the executives and investors who built and profited from the technology—but that they weren’t making life better for everyone.

Freelancers for Full-time Machines also allow companies to substitute part-time, temporary, and contingent workers for full-time employees, by breaking jobs down into standardized tasks that can be performed by relative amateurs and allowing small numbers of managers to supervise large, flexible workforces. The typical examples of this phenomenon are gig economy companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, all of which have made it possible for people with cars and spare bedrooms to compete with professional drivers and hoteliers. But a better example may be what’s happened in my industry. Several decades ago, human journalists were employed at newspapers, magazines, and TV stations, and given the job of separating fact from fiction, deciding which stories were appropriate for an audience, and ranking the day’s news in order of importance.


pages: 524 words: 130,909

The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin

3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, anti-communist, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, borderless world, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, David Graeber, disinformation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Extropian, facts on the ground, Ferguson, Missouri, Frank Gehry, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hockey-stick growth, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, QAnon, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, surveillance capitalism, TaskRabbit, technology bubble, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K, yellow journalism

Wired focused less on economics and more on cultural potential. “How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other,” a feature proclaimed. It argued that these Silicon Valley companies had the potential to return us to a form of “the neighborly interactions that defined pre-industrial society.” But, of course, Airbnb and Lyft also had implications beyond neighborliness. They were projects designed to reshape labor markets, removing the protections that workers had enjoyed since the New Deal, which was among the worst developments in American political history, as far as Thiel was concerned. Uber and Lyft drivers, TaskRabbit and Postmates workers, and the part-time hoteliers of Airbnb were not employees and couldn’t be by definition.

At the moment, Thiel’s investment firm, Founders Fund, was throwing money behind the hottest Silicon Valley trend: the “sharing economy.” The term described a class of startups in which unemployed people, or those looking for extra income, offered professional services on smartphone apps—Thiel’s firm invested in most of the biggest players. There was Lyft, a ride-hailing app that replaced taxi drivers with regular people driving their own cars. (Lyft developed this idea; Uber would copy it and make it famous.) The Founders Fund portfolio also included Airbnb, a lodging service to let people rent out spare bedrooms or vacation homes; TaskRabbit, where “gig workers” offered to do odd jobs, like laundry and dogwalking; and Postmates, a similar service, except the gig workers delivered you gourmet food instead of putting together your IKEA furniture.

., “Americans Who Mainly Get Their News on Social Media Are Less Engaged, Less Knowledgeable,” Pew Research Center, July 30, 2020, https://www.journalism.org/2020/07/30/americans-who-mainly-get-their-news-on-social-media-are-less-engaged-less-knowledgeable/. to rein them in: Kaushik Viswanath, “How Uber and Airbnb Created a Parasite Economy,” Marker, September 14, 2020, https://marker.medium.com/uber-and-airbnb-are-parasites-but-they-dont-have-to-be-36909355ac3b; Paris Martineau, “Inside Airbnb’s ‘Guerilla War’ Against Local Governments,” Wired, March, 20, 2019, https://www.wired.com/story/inside-airbnbs-guerrilla-war-against-local-governments/; Mike Isaac, “How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide,” The New York Times, March 3, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/technology/uber-greyball-program-evade-authorities.html. tech founders are godlike: Peter Thiel and Blake Masters, Zero to One (New York: Crown Business, 2014), 23, 168, 183. 1.25 million copies worldwide: Blake Masters (@bgmasters), “Zero to One has now sold more than 1.25 million copies worldwide!”


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

A feature of all these companies is that they require full access to their clients’ bank accounts and other personal data, which they use to determine whether to provide loans, what interest rate to charge and for how long to lend. THE PLATFORM DEBT MACHINE The misnamed ‘sharing economy’ is also fostering indebtedness. App-based taxi services, such as Uber and Lyft, have tie-ups with lenders that enable drivers to buy vehicles on credit. Big car companies are becoming involved. In January 2016, General Motors announced a deal with Lyft, under which it would supply rental vehicles to Lyft drivers. In 2015, Ford introduced a pilot scheme in London and six US cities allowing customers buying cars on credit to rent them out through peer-to-peer car rental platform companies.

In 2015, it had 1.5 million listings, ranging from spare beds to castles in 34,000 cities and over 190 countries, and had more rooms on its books than some of the world’s largest hotel chains. On the retail side, one and a half million ‘makers’ sell jewellery, clothing and accessories through the online marketplace Etsy, giving small-scale artisans access to buyers all over the world. Some platforms are in direct competition with older forms of service. These include Uber, its US rival Lyft and imitators elsewhere such as GrabTaxi, operating in Southeast Asia, Ola in India and Didi Kuaidi in China. BlaBlaCar, a French start-up originally called Covoiturage, is a car-sharing platform that enables drivers making long journeys to share the cost by ‘selling’ empty seats. BlaBlaCar does not compete with taxis, since its average trip is 200 miles (320 kilometres).

The platforms maximise profits through ownership and control of the technological apparatus, protected by patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, and by the exploitation of labour through tasking and unpaid work. Labour brokers are rentiers, earning a lot for doing little, if we accept their claim that they are just providing technology to put clients in touch with ‘independent contractors’ of services. Thus, Uber and rival Lyft insist they are technology, not transport companies. As platform-based tasking expands, it will be appreciated just how isolated the precariat is in this zone, in constant competition with one another. The atomisation drives down wages and transfers costs, risk and uncertainty onto the precariat.


pages: 173 words: 53,564

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes

"side hustle", basic income, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, end world poverty, full employment, future of journalism, gig economy, high net worth, hockey-stick growth, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, meta-analysis, new economy, oil rush, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, TaskRabbit, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, uber lyft, universal basic income, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

For the next two years, my grandparents lived alongside 11 other people in a standalone house in Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood. Lacking any education or nonfarm skills, my grandfather decided that he would become a barber. In my imagination, I see a Southern kid roaming about a dense Philadelphia neighborhood waiting for a client in need, like a Lyft or Uber driver of today except with a pair of scissors in hand. My grandfather had cut hair—he had those shears to prove it—but he had never really been a barber like the barbers I would later see as an adult. (The bowl cuts he gave me as a kid confirmed that he had failed to develop any meaningful skill.)

Now, it’s a roller coaster,” the journalist Rick Wartzman writes. When unemployed people in urban areas find themselves without jobs or marketable skills today, they do what my grandfather did. Instead of reaching for a pair of barber shears, they reach for their smartphones and register to become Lyft drivers and Postmates delivery people. TaskRabbiters pitch in to assemble furniture, rake leaves, or even stand in line to buy theater tickets or a newly released iPhone. In some cases, these contract jobs are a godsend because they help workers who only get part-time hours elsewhere to supplement their income, as laborers have done since the beginning of time.

We often think of millennials in these jobs, the masters of the art of the “side hustle,” but the numbers show it isn’t just millennials doing contingent work. A quarter of the working-age population in the United States and Europe engage in some type of independently paid gig, some by choice, but many out of necessity. People who find work through apps like Lyft and TaskRabbit get a lot of attention, but they are the tip of the iceberg. The instability that characterizes their work has spread throughout the economy as the class of low-quality jobs has grown. If you include not only independent gigs, but part-time workers, temps, and on-call workers, the number of people working in contingent jobs balloons to over 40 percent of all American workers.


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

Uber can’t leverage anything if it’s just one of several competing ride-sharing apps. That’s why the company must behave so aggressively. Uber’s rival, Lyft, documented over 5,000 canceled calls made to its drivers by Uber recruiters, allegedly in an effort to get drivers to change platforms.26 It’s not that there’s too little market share to go around; it’s that Uber doesn’t mean to remain a taxi-hailing application. In order to become our delivery service, errand runner, and default app for every other transportation-related function, Uber first has to own ride-sharing completely. Only then can it exercise the same sort of command as the chartered monopolies on whose code these modern digital corporations are still running.

Web site Airbnb lets us rent out our extra bedrooms to travelers. Smartphone apps Uber and Lyft let us use our vehicles to give people rides, for money. Unlike many of the other platforms we’ve looked at so far, these opportunities don’t lead to power-law distributions, because a car or home can be hired only by one person at a time. As long as you’re listed on the network and have decent reviews, you should do as well as anyone else. From the consumer’s side, these apps are amazing. If you need a ride, you can open Uber and see a map of the area along with tiny icons for the available cars. Pick a car based on its location, the driver’s ratings, and the estimated price.

Just don’t let the landlord find out what you’re doing. Likewise, the amateur taxi networks of Uber and Lyft are great ways for otherwise “underemployed” vehicle owners to make a few extra bucks. There’s no reason now to leave a worthwhile asset or hour off the books—even if the underemployed are really underpaid freelancers working a whole lot of hours already. These apps are not about sharing space in a vehicle—like driving a friend to the train station—they’re about monetizing unemployed people’s time and stuff. Although it currently has a valuation of over $41 billion,38 Uber is no more a taxi service than Airbnb is a hotel chain.


pages: 288 words: 66,996

Travel While You Work: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Business From Anywhere by Mish Slade

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, business process, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Hangouts, Inbox Zero, independent contractor, job automation, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Lyft, remote work: asynchronous communication, remote working, side project, Skype, speech recognition, turn-by-turn navigation, uber lyft, WeWork

You can also make use of a number of taxi apps. For example: Uber (www.worktravel.co/uber) currently operates in cities in 55 countries. Here's the full list: www.worktravel.co/ubercities. Note: if you use the link www.worktravel.co/uber to sign up to Uber, you'll get a free ride (worth up to about $15). My Taxi (www.worktravel.co/mytaxi) does the same thing as Uber, but has presence in Spain – where Uber is currently banned. There's also Lyft (www.worktravel.co/lyft), but that currently only operates in certain US cities. Gett (www.worktravel.co/gett) is similar to Lyft and Uber, but the pricing remains consistent (there's no "surge pricing", and you can book cabs in advance.

CHAPTER 1: SETTLE IN FAST Maps, directions and notekeeping Google Keep (note-taking app): www.worktravel.co/keep Google Maps: www.worktravel.co/gmaps Google Maps – how to store destinations as favourites: www.worktravel.co/mapfaves Google Maps Directions: www.worktravel.co/directions Google Maps list of offline maps: www.worktravel.co/offlinemaps Google Maps - how to download an offline map: www.worktravel.co/offlinemaps2 OsmAnd (offline maps with navigation): www.worktravel.co/osmand Here Maps (offline maps): www.worktravel.co//here Taxis Uber (taxi app): www.worktravel.co/uber Uber (list of cities): www.worktravel.co/ubercities MyTaxi (taxi app): www.worktravel.co/mytaxi Lyft (taxi app): www.worktravel.co/lyft Gett (taxi app): www.worktravel.co/gett Languages/translation Google Translate: www.worktravel.co/gtranslate XE (currency conversion): www.worktravel.co/xe Anki (flashcard app): www.worktravel.co/anki Duolingo (language learning): www.worktravel.co/duolingo Michel Thomas (language learning): www.worktravel.co/michel Money/cost of living Numbeo (cost of living in different cities): www.worktravel.co/numbeo GlobeTipping (global tipping app for iPhone): www.worktravel.co/globetipping Global Tip Calculator Pro (global tipping app for Android): www.worktravel.co/globalpro SIM cards Prepaid with Data (info on SIM cards around the world): www.worktravel.co/prepaid TripAdvisor forum (search for info on "monthly prepaid SIM 3G": www.worktravel.co/taforum Lonely Planet forum (has useful Q&As about SIMs around the world): www.worktravel.co/planetforum Restaurant, cafe, attraction, etc. reviews and info Foursquare (good for Europe): www.worktravel.co/foursquare Yelp (good for US and Europe): www.worktravel.co/yelp Spotted by Locals: www.worktravel.co/spotted Tabelog (Japan): www.worktravel.co/tabelog Vayable (marketplace where locals offer unique tours): www.worktravel.co/vayable) Receive mail Poste Restante (Wikipedia page): www.worktravel.co/post Amazon Lockers: www.worktravel.co/locker DHL Packstations (pickup lockers in Germany): www.worktravel.co/packstation Doddle (pickup lockers in the UK): www.worktravel.co/doddle My Pick Box (pickup lockers in Spain): www.worktravel.co/pickup Parcel (get all mail delivered to a unique address, which they'll then deliver at a convenient time): www.worktravel.co/parcel Mail-forwarding services UK Postbox: www.worktravel.co/ukpost Earth Class Mail (USA): www.worktravel.co/earthclass ClevverMail (Germany): www.worktravel.co/clevver Aussie Mail Man: www.worktravel.co/aussie Find/make friends Find A Nomad: www.worktravel.co/findanomad Create Your Nomadtopia: www.worktravel.co/topia ShareDesk (coworking spaces): www.worktravel.co/sharedesk Fitness Walking/cycling/running: OsmAnd (offline maps): www.worktravel.co/osmand Ride With GPS (routes): www.worktravel.co/gps Lanyard (for holding phone and following route while running/cycling): www.worktravel.co/lanyard Apartment-friendly exercise videos: Fitness Blender: www.worktravel.co/blender DDP Yoga: www.worktravel.co/ddp Do You Yoga: www.worktravel.co/yoga Focus T25: www.worktravel.co/t25 Sleek Technique: www.worktravel.co/sleek Community fitness: Project Awesome (London): www.worktravel.co/awesome November Project (USA): www.worktravel.co/november CHAPTER 2: GET TO GRIPS WITH MONEY AND TAXES Credit/debit card charges If you're from the UK… Comparison of debit card fees: www.worktravel.co/ukdebit Comparison of credit card fees: www.worktravel.co/ukcredit Best specialist travel credit cards: www.worktravel.co/uktravelcredit Info about travel debit cards: www.worktravel.co/uktraveldebit Supercard (still in testing phase at the time of writing, and only currently available for UK residents): www.worktravel.co/supercard Number26 (still in testing phase at the time of writing, and also available throughout the rest of Europe): www.worktravel.co/26 If you're from the US… List of credit cards that don't charge a foreign transaction fee: www.worktravel.co/ustravelcredit List of banks and their debit card transaction/ATM fees: www.worktravel.co/ustraveldebit Info about avoiding credit/debit card transaction fees: www.worktravel.co/avoidfees Charles Schwab (reimburses ATM fees): www.worktravel.co/schwab If you're from Australia… Info on credit/debit cards and fees: www.worktravel.co/finder More info in the book if you're from anywhere else!


pages: 326 words: 91,559

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

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

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

The airport’s website had a notice about an impending contract bid for taxi companies, replacing the permits. This could reshape the city’s taxi business and make or break Green Taxi’s plan to cooperativize—and unionize, with CWA—one-third of the market. The airport’s new regime affected only taxi companies, but it had everything to do with the influx of apps. Unlike taxis, Uber and Lyft drivers faced no restrictions on their airport usage. They often drove nicer cars and spoke better English; they were more likely to be white. In December 2014, the app drivers made 10,822 trips through the airport, compared to 30,535 by taxis. A year later, for the first time, app-based airport trips exceeded the taxis, and they’d done so every month since.

Self-driving cars hadn’t come to the city’s roads yet, but Wall Street’s anticipation of them was fueling investment in the big apps, which put pressure on the taxi market and motivated so many drivers to set off on their own. The disruption was already happening, and Green Taxi had been born of it. In the beginning, before Uber and Lyft and even checkered taxicabs, there was sharing. At least that’s the story according to Dominik Wind, a German environmental activist with a genial smile and a penchant for conspiracy theories. Years ago, out of curiosity, Wind visited Samoa for half a year; he found that people shared tools, provisions, and sexual partners with their neighbors.


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

Hot markets make it easier to attract the capital and talent (especially capital) to plow into blitzscaling. Uber is a clear example of how access to capital can fund aggressive and inefficient growth that may confer long-term strategic benefits. Uber’s ability to raise billions of dollars has allowed it to subsidize its service to attract more drivers and passengers, reinforcing the network effects of its two-sided marketplace. Plentiful capital has also allowed it to expand aggressively into other markets in an attempt to beat its competition to critical scale. Even after a scandal-plagued 2017, Uber still dwarfs its US archrival Lyft. In July 2017, Lyft announced that it had reached one million rides per day, a milestone that Uber achieved at the end of 2014.

From Captain to Admiral At the time of the writing of this book, the ridesharing company Uber was Silicon Valley’s most valuable start-up (and second globally to its frenemy, China’s Didi Chuxing), despite having spent most of 2017 in the news for a number of serious problems and scandals. Some of these issues were due to clearly unethical behavior, including internal problems, such as the sexual harassment reported by the former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, and various external attempts to subvert free competition, regulation, and the press, such as creating fake accounts to poach drivers from its rival Lyft (as reported by The Verge), developing software (Greyball) to prevent law enforcement and regulators from accessing the service, and then-COO Emil Michael suggesting that the company spend money to hire opposition researchers to intimidate journalists.

BLITZSCALING HACKS One productive hack to help your existing company blitzscale is to find ways to leverage people and businesses with prior blitzscaling experience. One obvious play is to partner with a blitzscaling start-up. For example, GM responded to the rise of Uber and the corresponding threat it represents to the market for cars for human drivers by investing $500 million in Lyft, Uber’s blitzscaling rival. GM also hedged its bets by acquiring Cruise for its self-driving car technology. A less obvious technique is to leverage the knowledge of venture capitalists. Venture capitalists are keen fans of blitzscaling and the returns it brings, even if they didn’t know the specific term before the book came out.


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

And to make it vastly cheaper (in normal use), if you are willing to share a ride, Uber will match two or three riders going to approximately the same place at the same time to split the fare. These UberPool shared-ride fares might be one quarter the cost of a taxi. Relying on Uber (or its competitors, like Lyft) is a no-brainer. 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.

Hire a peer to drive you to your destination (Uber). 5. Rent a car from a peer, drive yourself (RelayRides). 6. Hire a company to drive you with shared passengers along a fixed route (bus). 7. Hire a peer to drive you with shared passengers to your destination (Lyft Line). 8. Hire a peer to drive you with shared passengers going to a fixed destination (BlaBlaCar). There are variations upon the variations. Hire the service Shuddle to pick up someone else, like a child at school; some call it an Uber for kids. Sidecar is like Uber, except it runs a reverse auction. You set the price you are willing to pay and let drivers bid to pick you up.

We value not only the atoms in a thing, but their immaterial arrangement and design and, even more, their ability to adapt and flow in response to our needs. Formerly solid products made of steel and leather are now sold as fluid services that keep updating. Your solid car parked in a driveway has been transformed into a personal on-demand transportation service supplied by Uber, Lyft, Zip, and Sidecar—which are improving faster than automobiles are. Grocery shopping is no longer a hit-or-miss affair; now a steady flow of household replenishables streams into our homes uninterrupted. You get a better telephone every few months because a flow of new operating systems install themselves on your smartphone, adding new features and new benefits that in the past would have required new hardware.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

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

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

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

Cheap and quick are the two biggest factors impacting consumer choice in this kind of market. What brand of car ridersharers are sharing matters a lot less. Most of the time, if the vehicle is clean and neat, consumers won’t even notice what brand the car is—similar to how most of us feel about Uber or Lyft today. So, if a half-a-dozen different vehicles are all it takes to please the customer, then a wave of car company extinction is going to follow our wave of car company consolidation. Big auto won’t be the only industry impacted. America has almost half-a-million parking spaces. In a recent survey, MIT professor of urban planning Eran Ben-Joseph reported that, in many major US cities, “parking lots cover more than a third of the land area,” while the nation as a whole has set aside an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined for our vehicles.

What can we do with this identity? Own our own data, for one. Blockchain IDs could also facilitate fair and accurate voting. Lastly, if your identity can be established, then a reputation score can easily be attached. This score allows for things like peer-to-peer ridesharing, which today require trusted third parties named “Uber” and “Lyft.” In the same way that blockchain can validate identity, it can also validate any asset—for example, ensuring that your engagement ring isn’t a blood diamond. Land titles are another opportunity, especially since a considerable portion of the planet lives on land they don’t own, or not officially.


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

Two-sided matchmakers operating from the Cloud, such as Expedia, offer more efficient and cheaper alternatives. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were forty-four travel agents for every hundred thousand people in the United States in 2000. That had declined by 55 percent, to only twenty per hundred thousand people in 2014.33 Uber, along with similar companies such as Lyft and Didi Kuaidi, has created a great deal of value for consumers and drivers. But the traditional taxicab business is threatened as a result. Taxi drivers worldwide are protesting and trying to stop these new matchmakers. If they don’t, the traditional taxi business will likely go into terminal decline.

Like Zappos, with this single-sided approach, Netflix is completely in control of its customer relationships. As a platform that enables drivers to deal directly with riders, Uber relies on its drivers to make some decisions that a single-sided firm might make for them. Uber drivers can decide when to drive and what to drive—subject to some constraints to ensure it is a good vehicle. But Uber controls the prices the drivers can charge. Technology has made it possible to apply versions of Uber’s model linking service providers to customers in a wide range of other areas. For example, HourlyNerd competes with traditional management consulting firms by linking businesses and experts.

The Android operating system for mobile phones relies on the core portion of Linux known as the kernel. 24. Leena Rao, “Ubercab takes the hassle out of booking a car service,” TechCrunch, July 5, 2010, http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/05/ubercab-takes-the-hassle-out-of-booking-a-car-service/. 25. Uber Newsroom, “Our Commitment to Safety,” December 17, 2014, http://newsroom.uber.com/2014/12/our-commitment-to-safety/; Uber, “60 Countries: Available Locally, Expanding Globally,” https://www.uber.com/cities. 26. Google Inc., “Form 10-K for the Period Ending December 31, 2014,” http://investor.google.com/pdf/20141231_google_10K.pdf; Greg Sterling, “Report: Google had $12 billion in Mobile Search Revenue, 75 Percent from iOS,” Marketing Land, May 28, 2015, http://marketingland.com/report-google-had-12-billion-in-mobile-search-revenue-75-percent-from-ios-130248; Facebook Inc., “Form 10-Q for the Period Ending March 31, 2015,” http://investor.fb.com/common/download/sec.cfm?


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

Designed by the English philosopher and social theorist, Jeremy Bentham, the panopticon is an architectural design for a prison in which a single prison guard can watch all the inmates simultaneously without them knowing whether they are being watched, thus inducing self-regulating behaviour. 10. See Wiessner, D. (2018) US court revives challenge to Seattle’s Uber, Lyft union law. Reuters, 11 May. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-seattle-unions/u-s-court-revives-challenge-to-seattles-uber-lyft-union-law-idUSKBN1IC27C Conclusion: What next for the gig economy? The gig economy is not just a synonym for algorithmic wizardry, large datasets and cutting-edge technologies. Whenever we think (or indeed research or write) about work, it is important to remember that work necessarily involves workers.

In those places, doing so is seen as operating like a price-setting cartel rather than simply providing a means for workers to bargain over their pay. In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce, of which Uber and Lyft are members, has argued in a Seattle court that ‘by allowing drivers to bargain over their pay, which is based on fares received from passengers, the city would permit them to essentially fix prices in violation of federal antitrust law.’10 This measure has been seen as an attempt to prevent the Teamsters from organizing Uber drivers in Seattle. The threats of legal injunctions mean that workers are not only having an effect on the gig economy, but are redefining what organizing and trade unionism mean today.

The court decided that the case could not proceed – not because it had no merit, but rather because the claim was made against the wrong Uber entity. It turns out that Uber International Holding(s) BV, a company based in the Netherlands, owns the Uber software application, and, as such, all South African drivers are in a contract with Uber BV rather than Uber SA. South African Uber drivers would therefore have to take up their case in a court in the Netherlands. There is no predestined reason why Uber drivers in South Africa should have a contract with the Dutch parent company rather than the local company. But the way Uber has structured the relationship is that Uber BV controls the drivers in South Africa and Uber Technologies SA provides support services to the drivers (for instance recruitment and onboarding) (du Toit, 2018).


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

“Our demand is to freeze all the subsidies for the research on autonomous vehicles until there is a plan for workers who are going to lose their jobs,” Lerner said. As part of this effort, NYCC regularly puts together conference calls between dozens of taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers. They discuss how they’ve all gotten massive loans to buy cars for Uber and how they are still going to be paying off these loans when the robots come for their jobs—the robot vehicles Uber has promised within the decade. The robot-fearing Middle Precariat also includes parts of the legal profession: robots are threatening higher-end jobs, including those usually carried out by humans handling information.

., 71, 85 Gates, Bill, 226 Gender “class ceiling,” 10, 31 devaluation framework of care work, 76–77, 128–29 motherhood bias, 5–6, 10, 31 pay gap, 16, 51, 76, 104, 151–52 “precarious manhood” theory, 150–51, 262 rethinking traditional roles, 262 TV and, 220–21 Uber and Lyft driver-teachers, 150–51 Gender Equality Law Center (GELC), 29, 30 Geography and basic budget threshold, 99 Georgetown University, 56 George Washington University, 57 Germany day care, 80 parental leave, 26 Gerson, Kathleen, 75, 196 Gifted-and-talented programs, 135, 136 Gig economy, 147–63, 172. See also Uber teacher-driver-fathers “Glass ceiling,” 10, 29 “Global care chain,” 112 Globalization, 183 Global Wealth Report, 7 Goffman, Erving, 28 GoFundMe, 62, 152 Goldman, Belle, 183–84 Goldstein, Dana, 82–83 Goodwill, 33, 35 Gothamist, 183 Gould, Elise, 253 Great Britain.

These conglomerates are gargantuan outfits that offer short-term, cheap services delivered by “independent” contractors. They have become hugely successful by trading labor across platforms over which workers have little to no say. There was also a gendered element of this dark Silicon Valley fantasia. Of the dozen Uber and Lyft driver-teachers I spoke to in 2016, most were also parents, and almost all were men. (Of course, this is often true of the workers employed by these services.) It made me wonder whether men were sometimes more willing to literally drive the extra mile to retain their class status. After all, these men were also affected by the American societal amnesia about the cost of raising a family.


pages: 282 words: 85,658

Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century by Jeff Lawson

Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, bitcoin, business process, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, create, read, update, delete, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, DevOps, Elon Musk, financial independence, global pandemic, global supply chain, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, microservices, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ruby on Rails, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, web application, Y Combinator

I once worked with a group of senior leaders from large hospital trade associations who were desperate to improve patient experience, but throughout our time together they made excuses for why that experience was so dismal. Nothing I said about using digital tools to create the kind of transformation they were looking for got through to them. Finally, I asked how many of them had used Uber or Lyft. When they all said they had, I asked them to take their phones out of their pockets and look at how those apps show there’s a car on the way and where it is. I asked them to imagine what it would mean to the patient experience if a patient knew the arrival time of the nurse or a doctor coming to their room to help.

At the time, we did about $100 million in annual revenue, and were on the path toward our initial public offering (IPO), yet we weren’t a household name. That’s because Twilio does not sell products to consumers. We sell a service to software developers that lets their apps communicate with voice, SMS, email, and more. We have amazing customers—Uber, WhatsApp, Lyft, Zendesk, OpenTable, Nordstrom, Nike. But our software hides under the covers, inside websites and mobile apps. In fact, you’ve undoubtedly used Twilio, without knowing it, if you’re a customer of any of those companies or thousands more like them. So having committed half a million dollars to reserve the billboard for a year (yeah, even billboard real estate in the Bay Area is overpriced!)

In fact, you might believe that just buying software was how this transformation would work. Or that the software would just eat the world on its own in some kind of Terminator-like hellscape. Nobody wrote the instruction manual for this transformation. But in fact companies succeed at digital transformation not just by using software but by building software. Startups like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Spotify have become household names because they’re really good at building software. They know how to write software that changes how we live our lives. Now incumbents in every other industry are learning to do the same. Nearly every industry is transforming because of software. Digital transformation initiatives take top priority at all kinds of companies.


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

KEEP YOUR OPPONENTS IN THE GAME Aside from being a source of energy for your own productivity, your competitors play a critical role in the health of your industry. Over time, every company in a field builds on one another and helps expand the potential size of the market. For example, in the ride-sharing space, Uber launched on-demand cars before Lyft, Lyft launched a carpooling option before Uber, then Uber launched a tool for drivers to pick up fares at the end of their shift on their way home before Lyft, then Lyft provided “prescheduled rides” before Uber, and the list goes on. Of course, the real winner here is the consumer, who gets a more evolved product offering from the endless competition between two companies. Be grateful to your competitors for never letting your product—and process—become too comfortable.

(Hogan-Brun), 107 LinkedIn, 181, 258 listening, 321 lists, 374 living and dying, 26, 368–69, 373–75 Livingston, Jessica, 101–2 local maxima, 242, 243–44, 289 Loewenstein, George, 272 long-term goals, 26–27, 66, 299, 304, 350 Loup Ventures, 35 Louvre Pyramid, 200–202 Lyft, 191 Macdonald, Hugo, 37–38 Macworld, 295 Maeda, John, 107, 186, 308, 354 magic of engagement, 273 Making Ideas Happen (Belsky), 159, 190, 222 Managed by Q, 221 Marcus Aurelius, 39 market-product fit, 256 Marquet, David, 167 Mastercard, 275, 303–4 Match.com, 259 Maupassant, Guy de, 201 maximizers, 229, 284–85 McKenna, Luke, 217 McKinsey & Company, 72 Meerkat, 265 meetings, 44, 78, 176 Meetup, 168, 243–44 Mehta, Monica, 26 merchandising, internal, 158–60 metrics and measures, 28, 29, 297–99 microwave ovens, 325 middle, 1, 3–4, 7–8, 14–15, 20, 40, 209, 211, 375 volatility of, 1, 4, 6, 8, 12, 14–16, 21, 209 milestones, 25, 27, 31, 40 minimum viable product (MVP), 86, 186, 195, 252 Minshew, Kathryn, 72–73 misalignment, 153–55 mistakes, 324–25, 336 Mitterand, François, 201 Mix, 256 Mizrahi, Isaac, 324 mock-ups, 161–63 momentum, 29 money, raising, 30–31, 102 Monocle, 37 Morin, Dave, 273 motivation, 24 multilingualism, 107–9 Murphy, James, 92 Muse, The, 72, 73 Musk, Elon, 168, 273 Muslims, 302–3 Myspace, 89, 187–88, 349 mystery, 271–73 naivety, 308–9 Narayan, Shantanu, 289 narrative and storytelling, 40–42, 75, 87, 271 building, before product, 255–57 culture and, 134–36 National Day of Unplugging, 328 naysayers, 295 negotiation, 286–87 Negroponte, Nicholas, 107 Nest, 63 Netflix, 83–84, 126 networking, 138–39 networks, 258–61, 283, 284, 320–21 Newsweek, 38 New York Times, 63, 122, 275 Next, 141 99U Conference, 9–10, 26, 138, 167, 181, 197, 220, 221, 360 no, saying, 282–84, 285, 319, 371, 372 Noguchi, Isamu, 141 noise and signal, 320–21 Northwestern Mutual, 66 novelty, and utility, 240–41 NPR, 196 “NYC Deli Problem,” 174 Oates, Joyce Carol, 192 OBECALP, 59–61 obsession, 104–5, 229, 313, 326 Oculus, 350 Odeo, 36 office space, 140–41 openness, 308–9, 350 OpenTable, 79 opinions, 64, 305–7, 317 opportunities, 282–85, 319, 324, 325, 371 optimization, 8, 14–15, 16, 93–338 see also product, optimizing; self, optimizing; team, optimizing Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Sandberg and Grant), 39 options, managing, 284–85 organizational debt, 178–79 outlasting, 90 outsiders, 88, 105 Page, Larry, 60 Pain, 59 Paperless Post, 239 Paradox of Choice, The: Why More Is Less (Schwartz), 284 parallel processing, 33 parenting, 371, 372 Partpic, 120 passion, empathy and humility before, 248–50 path of least resistance, 85 patience, 78, 80–85, 196 cultural systems for, 81–82, 85 personal pursuit of, 84–85 structural systems for, 83–84, 85 “pebbles” and “boulders,” 182, 268 Pei, I.

“Culture is not something”: Ben Thompson, “The Curse of Culture,” Stratechery, May 24, 2016, https://stratechery.com/2016/the-curse-of-culture. STRUCTURE AND COMMUNICATION MERCHANDISE TO CAPTURE AND KEEP YOUR TEAM’S ATTENTION. “Year of the Driver”: Johana Bhuiyan, “Drivers Don’t Trust Uber. This Is How It’s Trying to Win Them Back,” Recode, February 5, 2018, www.recode.net/2018/2/5/16777536/uber-travis-kalanick-recruit-drivers-tipping. “Of all the things that can”: Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, “The Power of Small Wins,” Harvard Business Review, May 2011, https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins. A MOCK-UP > ANY OTHER METHOD OF SHARING YOUR VISION “When evaluating a product”: Peep Laja, “8 Things That Grab and Hold Website Visitor’s Attention,” Conversation XL, May 8, 2017, https://conversionxl.com/blog/how-to-grab-and-hold-attention.


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

Now was the time to go, Artie and others argued. WeWork would need a fresh infusion of capital sometime in the next year to fund its growth, and the markets were on the rise after the late-2018 dip that helped scuttle Fortitude. A bumper crop of other companies that had also spent the decade gulping from the venture capital fire hose—Uber, Lyft, Slack, Beyond Meat—were all going public. Zoom, the videoconferencing software provider, had just listed its shares, which shot up 72 percent on their first day of trading. WeWork didn’t want to miss its moment, and Artie wanted to make sure to get ahead of any leaks, so WeWork could make the case that it was going public at a moment of strength, not desperation.

Adam wasn’t bad with numbers; employees marveled at his ability to scan an empty building and calculate how many desks WeWork could squeeze inside. But he had built WeWork on guts and charm rather than by creating a system to support its growth. The two Uber emigrés set about trying to create a “playbook”—an idea ported from Uber and popular all over the tech world—that would contain a standardized plan for the company’s expanding legion of employees. Their constant refrain became “Well, at Uber…” The comparison annoyed WeWork employees. Uber had plenty of factors complicating its business, but taxi service was more or less universal across the globe, lending itself to a relatively uniform playbook.

He was talking about the math behind valuations and how widely their underlying calculations could vary, depending on what numbers you put in. In this case, Gurley was defending an outsize valuation: Uber, another Benchmark company, had recently been valued at $17 billion. Gurley was critiquing an NYU professor who said that Uber’s valuation was inflated “by a factor of 25.” The professor’s analysis presumed that Uber’s total addressable market, or TAM, was the $100 billion taxi-and-limousine market. Gurley believed that Uber’s TAM was every single car on the road—a market theoretically worth $1.3 trillion. This kind of blue-sky thinking was saturating Silicon Valley.


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

Now was the time to go, Artie and others argued. WeWork would need a fresh infusion of capital sometime in the next year to fund its growth, and the markets were on the rise after the late-2018 dip that helped scuttle Fortitude. A bumper crop of other companies that had also spent the decade gulping from the venture capital fire hose—Uber, Lyft, Slack, Beyond Meat—were all going public. Zoom, the videoconferencing software provider, had just listed its shares, which shot up 72 percent on their first day of trading. WeWork didn’t want to miss its moment, and Artie wanted to make sure to get ahead of any leaks, so WeWork could make the case that it was going public at a moment of strength, not desperation.

Adam wasn’t bad with numbers; employees marveled at his ability to scan an empty building and calculate how many desks WeWork could squeeze inside. But he had built WeWork on guts and charm rather than by creating a system to support its growth. The two Uber emigrés set about trying to create a “playbook”—an idea ported from Uber and popular all over the tech world—that would contain a standardized plan for the company’s expanding legion of employees. Their constant refrain became “Well, at Uber…” The comparison annoyed WeWork employees. Uber had plenty of factors complicating its business, but taxi service was more or less universal across the globe, lending itself to a relatively uniform playbook.

He was talking about the math behind valuations and how widely their underlying calculations could vary, depending on what numbers you put in. In this case, Gurley was defending an outsize valuation: Uber, another Benchmark company, had recently been valued at $17 billion. Gurley was critiquing an NYU professor who said that Uber’s valuation was inflated “by a factor of 25.” The professor’s analysis presumed that Uber’s total addressable market, or TAM, was the $100 billion taxi-and-limousine market. Gurley believed that Uber’s TAM was every single car on the road—a market theoretically worth $1.3 trillion. This kind of blue-sky thinking was saturating Silicon Valley.


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

Whereas firms once had to spend large amounts to invest in the computing equipment and expertise needed for their businesses, today’s start-ups have flourished because they can simply rent hardware and software from the cloud. As a result, Airbnb, Slack, Uber, and many other start-ups use AWS.79 Uber further relies on Google for mapping, Twilio for texting, SendGrid for emailing, and Braintree for payments: it is a lean platform built on other platforms. These companies have also offloaded costs from their balance sheets and shifted them to their workers: things like investment costs (accommodations for Airbnb, vehicles for Uber and Lyft), maintenance costs, insurance costs, and depreciation costs. Firms such as Instacart (which delivers groceries) have also outsourced delivery costs to food suppliers (e.g.

The convergence thesis helps explain why Google is lobbying with Uber on self-driving cars and why Amazon and Microsoft have been discussing partnerships with German automakers on the cloud platform required by self-driving cars.28 Alibaba and Apple have made major investments in Didi, Apple’s partnership being particularly strategic, given that iPhones are the major interface to taxi services. And nearly all of the major platforms are working to develop medical data platforms. The trend to convergence is igniting international competition as well: intense struggles occur in India and China over who will dominate the ride-sharing industry (Uber, Didi, Lyft) and who will dominate e-commerce (Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart). Alibaba is already the largest e-commerce site in the world as measured by the volume of its sales,29 and Flipkart is valued at around $15 billion. Under the pressures of competition and the subsequent imperative to expand, we should expect these platforms to acquire as many companies as they need.

Facebook’s own services would be provided for free, but other services would have to partner with Facebook and go through its platform, effectively enclosing the entirety of the internet into Mark Zuckerberg’s silo.31 While rejected in India, the Free Basics service is now active in 37 countries and used by over 25 million people.32 Uber is also effectively building up a system that funnels passengers into its system. The decreased demand for non-Uber cabs means a decreased supply of non-Uber drivers, as more and more of the services move onto Uber. As more passengers turn to Uber’s platform, non-Uber cab drivers will lose out and be forced onto Uber’s platform if they are to survive. The same holds for passengers: as fewer non-Uber cabs roam the streets, the only way to guarantee a cab will eventually be through Uber’s platform. The field of industrial platform is also almost certain to resolve into a series of enclosed spaces, as Siemens and GE are unable (and unwilling) to communicate with each other.


pages: 274 words: 63,679

Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America by Angie Schmitt

active transport: walking or cycling, autonomous vehicles, car-free, Covid-19, COVID-19, crossover SUV, desegregation, Donald Trump, global pandemic, invention of air conditioning, Lyft, megacity, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, super pumped, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, white flight, wikimedia commons

“Uber IPO,” Financial Times, accessed April 1, 2020, https://www.ft.com/content/b3e70e9e-5c4d-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a. 17. Eric Newcomer, “Uber Revenue Slows as Quarterly Loss Surges to $1.1 Billion,” Bloomberg Technology, November 14, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-14/uber-revenue-slows-as-quarterly-loss-surges-to-1-1-billion. 18. Graham Rapier, “Uber and Lyft Are Betting on Self-Driving Cars to Become Profitable. But That May Not Happen, New Research from MIT Suggests,” Business Insider, May 29, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-self-driving-taxis-may-not-help-profitability-mit-2019-5. 19. Dan Albert, telephone interview, October 22, 2019. 20.

Nevertheless, it is clear that walking around intoxicated affects judgment, increasing the risk of getting killed by a car or truck. The question is, what is the appropriate response? Many media and institutional actors have defaulted to treating drunk walking like drunk driving—basically finger wagging. In truth, intoxicated people who resort to walking may lack good alternatives. They can call an Uber or Lyft—if they can afford it. They can also avoid traveling, but that might not always be safe or practical. People might simply be encouraged to moderate their drinking overall. In some countries with much better safety records, like Sweden, alcohol sales are much more tightly controlled, and drinking is more socially discouraged.

Kyle Wiggers, “Waymo’s Autonomous Cars Have Driven 20 Million Miles on Public Roads,” VentureBeat, January 6, 2020, https://venturebeat.com/2020/01/06/waymos-autonomous-cars-have-driven-20-million-miles-on-public-roads/. 10. Amri Efrati, “The Uber Whistleblower’s Email,” The Information, December 10, 2018, https://www.theinformation.com/articles/the-uber-whistleblowers-email. 11. Timothy Lee, “Police: Uber Driver Was Streaming Hulu Just before Fatal Self-Driving Car Crash,” Ars Technica, June 22, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/06/police-uber-driver-was-streaming-hulu-just-before-fatal-self-driving-car-crash/. 12. Laura Bliss, “Former Uber Backup Driver: ‘We Saw This Coming,’” Citylab, March 27, 2018, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/03/former-uber-backup-driver-we-saw-this-coming/556427/. 13.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

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

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

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

For Benkler, “Blockchain enables people to translate their willingness to work together into a set of reliable accounting—of rights, assets, deeds, contributions, uses—that displaces some of what a company like Uber does. So that if drivers want to set up their own Uber and replace Uber with a pure cooperative, blockchain enables that.” He emphasized the word enable. To him, “There’s a difference between enabling and moving the world in a new direction.” He said, “People still have to want to do it, to take the risk of doing it.”31 So get ready for blockchain Airbnb, blockchain Uber, blockchain Lyft, blockchain Task Rabbit, and blockchain everything wherever there is an opportunity for real sharing and for value creation to work together in a cooperative way and receive most of the value they create. 4.

A world where billions of excluded people can now participate in the global economy and share in its largesse. Here’s a preview. Creating a True Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy Pundits often refer to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and others as platforms for the “sharing economy.” It’s a nice notion—that peers create and share in value. But these businesses have little to do with sharing. In fact, they are successful precisely because they do not share—they aggregate. It is an aggregating economy. Uber is a $65 billion corporation that aggregates driving services. Airbnb, the $25 billion Silicon Valley darling, aggregates vacant rooms. Others aggregate equipment and handymen through their centralized, proprietary platforms and then resell them.


pages: 348 words: 97,277

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

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

The outcry over this and other privacy concerns led to a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in which Uber agreed to encrypt riders’ names and geolocation data. It’s certainly not hard to see that Uber and its main competitor, Lyft, have quickly enmeshed themselves in our daily lives. When the name of your company becomes a verb—Xerox, Google, Uber—you know you’ve arrived. But for all the branding associated with democratizing transportation, and with allowing drivers and passengers to come together and “ride-share,” Uber is really a centralization play. It’s not about disintermediation at all. This for-profit company is the gatekeeper for every deal that gets struck between every driver and every passenger, and for that it takes 25 percent each time.

Who would have thought a decade ago that people would feel comfortable riding in the car of some stranger they’d just discovered on their phones? Well, Uber and Lyft got us over that trust barrier by incorporating a reputation scoring system for both drivers and passengers, one that was only made possible because of the expansion of social networks and communication. Their model showed that if we can resolve our trust issues with technology and give people confidence to transact, those people are willing and able to go into direct exchanges with complete strangers. These ideas are setting us on a path to a peer-to-peer economy. What blockchain technology says is, “Why stop at Uber?” Why do we even need this particular company, which takes 25 percent from each ride and has a reputation for abusing its “God’s View” knowledge of passengers’ rides?

See permissioned (private) blockchains Procivis proof-of-stake algorithm proof of work prosumers Protocol Labs Provenance public key infrastructure (PKI) Pureswaran, Veena R3 CEV consortium ransom attacks Ravikant, Naval Realini, Carol re-architecting record keeping and proof-of-stake algorithm and supply chains and trust See also ledger-keeping Reddit refugee camps Regenor, James reputation scoring Reuschel, Peter Rhodes, Yorke ride-sharing Commuterz Lyft reputation scoring Uber Ripple Labs Rivest Co. Rockefeller Foundation Rosenfeld, Meni rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs) Russia Safaricom Santori, Marco Sawtooth Lake scalability and Bitcoin and Ethereum and permissionless systems Schneiderman, Eric Schneier, Bruce Schwab, Klaus Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Security and Exchange Commission Segregation Witness (SegWit) SegWit2x self-sovereign identities.


pages: 290 words: 72,046

5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich With Purpose by Nik Halik, Garrett B. Gunderson

Airbnb, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, business process, clean water, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, Ethereum, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Home mortgage interest deduction, independent contractor, Isaac Newton, litecoin, Lyft, market fundamentalism, microcredit, minimum viable product, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Nelson Mandela, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Skype, TaskRabbit, traveling salesman, uber lyft

She now earns between $1,000 and $1,800 a month from her Airbnb property. Uber/Lyft You can earn money on your schedule. You give rides when you want and earn as much as you want, with the potential to make great money. Thirty hours of driving per week can generate up to $1,000 on average. You get paid weekly and your fares are automatically deposited. Additionally, this is a unique way to monetize your car, especially if you have a car loan. You could buy a new car and pay it off as an Uber or Lyft driver. In late 2016, I was visiting London to deliver a keynote address. I had an Uber driver pick me up, and we struck up a conversation.

The drivers simply spend their time and drive, and generate about $4,000 per month net after their rental fee. For these drivers, $7,000 can support their families for an entire year back in Afghanistan. Akram’s plan is to upgrade his fleet to fifty cars. There are thirty other refugees on the waiting list to take up his offer. And even if you don’t want to drive for Uber or Lyft, you can still make money with them. There are plenty of people who have a driver’s license but don’t own a car. If you have an under-utilized car that’s just sitting in your garage and depreciating in value, you can rent it out to ridesharing drivers. You can now list your car on HyreCar.com.

Keohohou, Nicki Kets de Vries, Manfred keystone habits Kiyosaki, Robert Komisar, Randy Kroc, Ray L labor markets, technology’s transformation of Lavie, Peretz Lemony Snicket Lending Club leverage, and Cash Flow Insurance and content and creating greater returns and credit scores and current assets and entrepreneurship and real estate investments liabilities, and insurance vs. debt liberated entrepreneurs life boards, creating life insurance, combining with long-term care insurance as protective expense whole life insurance lifestyle, and cash flow cutting expenses of and freedom and Growth investment strategies and loan debt Linchpin (Godin) LinkedIn liquidity, and Cash Flow Insurance of checking and savings accounts and economic cycles and failure of conventional investments of Growth investments and real estate investments and reducing debt and tax lien certificates Litecoin “Live Like You Were Dying” (song) Living Wealthy Accounts LLCs loads, on mutual funds loans, and Cash Flow Index and credit scores and economic cycles for real estate investments restructuring from retirement plans against whole life insurance policies See also debt location, and real estate investments and storage unit construction Loehr, Jim long-term care insurance Loopnet Lyft, as entrepreneurial opportunity Lynch, Peter M Mackay, Harvey “mailbox money” myth maintenance, and storage units Mandela, Nelson Marcus Aurelius market conditions, and business startup investments and real estate investments market cycles See also economic cycles market demand, and entrepreneurial opportunities Mastermind Principle materialism, and the American dream and simplicity Maxwell, John McCain, John McCoy, Dan meals, as tax deduction meaning, and generosity medical insurance, as protective expense Melish, Stephanie mental capital mental energy mentors, and building your inner circle microcredit Mill, John Stuart mindfulness mindset, of abundance changing components of a strong and control and debt and hiring employees and limitations and Living Wealthy Accounts and quitting your job and real estate investments and resourcefulness strengthening mineral rights mobile apps, as entrepreneurial opportunity Moffat, Kyle Momentum investments, and active vs. passive income streams business startups cryptocurrencies description of gold and silver speculation and Growth investment strategies investing in people and Passive Income Ratio private equity investments purchasing distressed businesses understanding financial reports Monero monetary policies, and economic cycles moneylenders money managers fees money mastery Moody, D.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Bear Stearns, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, bond market vigilante , Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, salary depends on his not understanding it, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Behind the 1960s peace, love, and flowers of the sharing economy, it is Darwinian capitalism. Uber has obtained financing of more than US$1.5 billion, valuing the business at US$40 billion—a higher valuation than traditional car hire companies such as Hertz and Avis, and publicly listed transport companies such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Continental. Airbnb has a higher value than all but the biggest hotel chains. Given the high stakes, competition is fierce, unethical, and unsavory. Uber has admitted trying to disrupt Lyft's fundraising efforts. It does not welcome criticism, allegedly considering spending a million dollars to hire researchers to uncover information on the personal lives of reporters critical of its service in order to discredit them.

The sharing economy (also known as the peer economy, collaborative economy, and gig economy) is based on the ubiquitous Internet, improved broadband connectivity, smartphones, and apps. Individuals with spare time, houses, rooms, cars, and the like can use them as sources of work and income. The economy that benefits everyone focuses on transport (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, GetTaxi, Hailo), short-term accommodation (Airbnb, HomeAway), small tasks (TaskRabbit, Fiverr), grocery-shopping services (Instacart), home-cooked meals (Feastly), on-demand delivery services (Postmates, Favor), pet transport (DogVacay, Rover), car rental (RelayRides, Getaround), boat rental (Boatbound), and tool rental (Zilok).

Providers are engaged in rich and diverse work, gaining valuable independence and flexibility. Lyft's slogan is “Your Friend with a Car.” Airbnb and Feastly urge hosts and guests to share photos and communicate to build trust. Some things remain the same. Researchers have found that, accounting for other variables, Airbnb guests pay black hosts less than they do white ones.8 The sharing economy, in reality, relies on disintermediating existing businesses and minimizing regulatory costs. Amateur chauffeurs, chefs, and personal assistants now perform, at a lower cost, work once undertaken by full-time professionals. Airbnb, Lyft, and others do not always comply with regulations designed to ensure a minimum level of skill, standard of performance, safety and security, and insurance coverage.


pages: 252 words: 73,131

The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy

There need not be only two sides: Google’s Android is a meeting point for makers of smart phones like LG and Samsung, app designers, and consumers. The business networking service LinkedIn similarly brings together corporate recruiters, job hunters or employees, and advertisers. The list goes on, including some of the recent “sharing economy” companies that have gotten so much attention: Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Postmates, and many other online marketplaces. The market maker faces a delicate balancing act in satisfying the needs and wants of each side. And indeed a platform isn’t much good unless all sides agree to participate. Just as no one would visit a supermarket that stocked only a limited supply of cornflakes, eBay wouldn’t get many visitors if the only items for bid were a couple of old Pez dispensers.

The Champagne wardens ensured that the merchant of Prato got paid, other traders took notice, and the Champagne fairs thrived. Successful internet platforms, such as eBay, Uber, and Amazon, have similarly figured out ways of making most transactions run smoothly and acting as arbitrator in those that don’t (and, in Uber’s case, using a proprietary algorithm that governs how to connect drivers and customers). The market maker can screen out undesirables from all sides of the platform, but as cases like eBay and Uber suggest, often the job is left to platform participants themselves. The platform manager makes customer feedback possible, and in theory, the wisdom of crowds takes care of the rest, solving the asymmetric information problem that George Akerlof identified as the enemy of market function back in 1970.

This was the founding insight of the car service platform Uber. According to founder Garrett Camp (who had also created web discovery engine StumbleUpon), he was inspired by the fact that he couldn’t get a cab in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood, even though he saw black town cars all over the area, presumably on their way to different appointments. Now, idle car owners and their idle cars are being put to greater use in the service of those formerly at the mercy of taxi dispatchers. Taxi cartels worldwide are losing the fight against Uber and its sharing economy brethren, or face imminent disruption. And if you believe the Uber narrative, drivers and riders everywhere are rejoicing.


Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood by Trixie Mattel, Katya

Lyft, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, trickle-down economics, uber lyft

It’s better to lie in wait as a drooling stooge. Then you can floor everyone by solving a Rubik’s Cube at a holiday party and be like, “What?” BEAUTY As long as I’ve been alive, I have known I was gorgeous. The longing glances from adult strangers, the catty remarks from peers, the sexual advances from Uber drivers. Using vocabulary from my Friday afternoon Lyft trip with Mohammad, I am what you would consider “five stars.” However, beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder. For example: A Trixie Mattel show was reviewed in Newcastle. Let’s call the reviewer Kate because that’s her name. Kate described me as someone who “revels in the repulsion she exudes.”

Upon becoming a “richie,” I checked in on some of my favorite ways to live cheap: 1. Bitch, I love biking. The speed, the danger, the wind in my nonexistent hair! My bike cost me two hundred fifty dollars—think about it. An Uber in LA is at least ten bucks (See the chapter titled “Travel”), so twenty-five bike rides later I got me a FREE BIKE. People are always confused when they see me walk in with a helmet in tow. “Did you bike here?” No, bitch, I took a Lyft but I’m just cautious and prone to seizures. DUH. I am always asked then, “Do you need a ride?” No, bitch, I have my bike, WHICH IS A RIDE. And, girl—invest in a bike lock. And lock it around the front tire.

They act like it’s normal, which is weirder. Don’t act like every order you’ve delivered tonight is for fucking scalped Marge Simpson answering the door. I’d love it if they were like [moans] but it never happens. Monique Heart just told me an Uber driver was like, “Yeah, you wanna rub my shoulders?” That never happens to me! K: It happens—not in Ubers, but it happened to me a lot in cabs. T: This is what happens to me in Ubers. They drive by, see me in drag, and keep driving, and they cancel the ride. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you because with your drag, maybe it’s too late. You’re already stepping in the car before they realize something’s going on.


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

A few hours earlier Schifter had posted a long essay on Facebook explaining his reasons. He said that he had once made a good living driving a limo in New York, earning enough to buy a house outside the city, in the Poconos. But then came the onslaught of new drivers working for services like Uber and Lyft, and rates plummeted for everyone, so low that nobody could make a living as a driver anymore. Schifter was putting in seventeen-hour days, sometimes earning as little as $4 an hour. He fell into debt. He missed a mortgage payment and was in danger of losing his home. “I have been financially ruined,” he wrote.

“I will not be a slave working for chump change. I would rather be dead.” Silicon Valley promotes the gig economy as an innovative new industry that is creating jobs for millions of people. But the jobs being created are mostly bad ones. Meanwhile, gig-economy companies threaten established industries. Airbnb steals business from hotels. Uber and Lyft have hurt business at car-rental companies like Hertz and Avis, and have utterly decimated the taxi and livery business. Pundits like to talk about “creative destruction” as if it were an abstract concept, but the sight of a driver parked in front of City Hall with his head blown off served as a reminder that all this change and so-called progress is coming at a very high cost to actual human beings.

Tesla, Spotify, Dropbox, Box, Snap, Square, Workday, Cloudera, Okta, Blue Apron, Roku, MongoDB, Redfin, Yext, Forescout, Docusign, Smartsheet—they’re all publicly traded, and they all lose money, and in some cases a lot of it, sometimes for years and years, long after they go public. Other unicorns like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest, WeWork, Vice Media, Magic Leap, Bloom Energy, and Postmates remain privately held, but reportedly don’t turn a profit. As I write this, a tech start-up called Domo is attempting to offer shares to the public even though the company lost $360 million over the past two years, on sales of just $183 million, meaning Domo loses two dollars for every dollar it took in.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, hockey-stick growth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

In Johannesburg, São Paolo, New York, and other metropolitan cities in the world, the company faces similar charges. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to rehash an old regulation, restricting the growth of car-riding services like Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft to 1 percent a year, seemingly copying the thinking behind the taxi regulation in New York that has capped the number of yellow cab medallions.8 In Miami, these companies are banned. There is a bigger story about regulation embedded in these examples. Anchored among incumbents’ existing structures, regulation all too often helps to saturate or cement markets.

OECD, “Taxi Services” suggests that the number of taxis in Paris actually went down between the early 1930s and the late 1960s, and that the number of taxi licenses only increased by 1,000 in the 40 years between 1967 and 2007. 3.OECD, “Taxi Services,” 110. 4.Mawad and Fouquet, “Paris Police ‘Boers’ Pursuing Uber Drivers.” 5.Drozdiak, “Uber Launches Petition over Brussels UberPop Ban.” 6.Sheftalovich, “‘Scrooge’ Brussels Mayor Dampens Uber’s Christmas Spirit.” 7.BBC, “Uber Banned in Germany.” 8.New York City capped the number of yellow cab medallions to 16,900 in 1937. Now, however, there are only about 13,500 such licenses issued. 9.Zingales, A Capitalism for the People, 4. 10.Thomas, Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital. 11.Derviş, “Is Uber a Threat to Democracy?” 12.OECD, Businesses’ Views on Red Tape. 13.Olson, The Logic of Collective Action. 14.Sellar and Yeatman, 1066 and All That. 15.This anecdote is from Diamandis and Kotler, Abundance. 16.Acemoglu and Robinson, Why Nations Fail. 17.Downes, “Fewer, Faster, Smarter.” 18.Goodwin, “The History of Mobile Phones.” 19.Rogers and Ramsey, “Tesla to Stop Selling Electric Cars in New Jersey.” 20.Lepore, “How Santa Monica Will Enforce Its Airbnb Ban.” 21.Coldwell, “Airbnb’s Legal Troubles.” 22.Tabarrok, “Book Review: ‘Innovation Breakdown’.” 23.Gulfo, Innovation Breakdown. 24.Kay, “Miracles of Productivity Hidden in the Modern Home.” 25.Erixon, “EU Policies on Online Entrepreneurship.” 26.Tabarrok, “Book Review: ‘Innovation Breakdown’.” 27.CSDD, “Growing Protocol Design Complexity.” 28.Grabowski and Hansen, “Cost of Developing a New Drug.” 29.Herper, “The Truly Staggering Cost of Inventing New Drugs.” 30.Roy, “Stifling New Cures.” 31.CSDD, “Growing Protocol Design Complexity.” 32.Basu and Hassenplug, “Patient Access to Medical Devices.” 33.That figure is for 2010 when one of the authors was given a guided tour of the FedEx hub. 34.Button and Christensen, “Unleashing Innovation.” 35.Comin and Hobijn, “Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth.” 36.Agarwal and Gort, “First-Mover Advantage.” 37.Jaffe and Trajtenberg, Patents, Citations and Innovations. 38.Mansfield, “How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?”

Its opponents are calling for it to be either forced out of business or regulated to make it behave and operate just like every other taxi firm it competes with. As you might have guessed, the company in question is Uber – the San Francisco-based transport network company offering services via an app. UberPop, its peer-to-peer car-sharing service using unlicensed drivers, closed in France following the men’s arrest and all the protests against the service. Trade unions had taken strike action in protest against Uber, and some of them became violent. They burnt tires and aggressively harassed Uber drivers and their passengers. Parisian police authorities had previously tried to slow the company’s expansion by ruling that taxis could not turn up sooner than 15 minutes after the booking had been made.


pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

“Unlike digital marketing, where ROI is sustained almost as soon as spending happens, communities are a long-term investment that is significantly more strategic,” says social business thought leader Dion Hinchcliffe. “Additionally, communities with CxO participation are far more likely to be best-in-class.” Create a platform to automate peer-to-peer engagement. GitHub, for example, has its members rate and review other members’ code. Airbnb hosts and users fill out evaluation forms; taxi disrupters Uber, Lyft and Sidecar encourage clients and drivers to rate one another; and the news platform Reddit invites users to vote on stories. In 2013, Reddit, which has just fifty-one employees, most of whom manage the platform, saw 731 million unique visitors cast 6.7 billion votes on 41 million stories. Talk about a platform…(More on this later.)

As with Staff on Demand, ExOs retain their flexibility precisely by not owning assets, even in strategic areas. This practice optimizes flexibility and allows the enterprise to scale incredibly quickly as it obviates the need for staff to manage those assets. Just as Waze piggybacked off its users’ smartphones, Uber, Lyft, BlaBlaCar and Sidecar leverage under-utilized cars. (If you own a car, it sits empty about 93 percent of the time.) The latest wave of non-asset businesses is something called Collaborative Consumption, a concept evangelized by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers in their book, What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.

That’s more than the value of Hyatt Hotels, which has 45,000 employees spread across 549 properties. And while Hyatt’s business is comparatively flat, Airbnb’s number of room-nights delivered is growing exponentially. At its current pace, Airbnb will be the biggest hotelier in the world by late 2015. Similarly, Uber, the Airbnb of cars—Uber converts private automobiles into taxis—has been valued at $17 billion. Like Airbnb, Uber has no assets, no workforce (to speak of) and is also growing exponentially. If you don’t find these valuations sufficiently eye-opening, go back and read them again—this time reminding yourself that each of these Exponential Organizations is fewer than six years old.


pages: 304 words: 80,143

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

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

Suddenly the full-time jobs of 250,000 U.S. taxi and chauffeur drivers are at risk of being taken away by 400,000 mostly part-time drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other services.20 Cab companies are already having a difficult time competing. That’s not surprising: cab fares in Los Angeles are $2.70 per mile, while Uber charges about $1.00.21 The oversupply of Uber drivers drives down the price of the service and the value of the work done by drivers. There are other economic impacts as well. Some consumers are discovering that using Uber and occasionally renting a Zipcar or Car2Go is so convenient and cost-efficient that they can get rid of their own cars altogether and just ride and rent.

The sharing economy will have great impact in areas where expensive, privately owned assets are underutilized. Automobiles are one such asset. Privately owned automobiles spend as much as 95 percent of their time parked.42 That means the average car is driven approximately nine hours a week. A number of sharing services have emerged with a goal of monetizing those idle hours. Uber and Lyft are already household names. The twentieth-century relic Zipcar is now owned by Avis.43 New aspirants keep emerging. Getaround allows neighbors to rent cars from other neighbors by the hour, while a competing service, Turo, focuses on longer-term rentals.44 Turo’s website claims that owners can cover their monthly car payments by renting their cars for as few as nine days a month.

Emily Badger, “Now We Know How Many Drivers Uber Has—and Have a Better Idea of What They’re Making,” Washington Post, January 22, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/20/now-we-know-how-many-drivers-uber-has-and-have-a-better-idea-of-what-theyre-making/?noredirect=on; and Kate Rogers, “Who’s Your Uber Driver? More of Them Are Women: Survey,” CNBC, December 8, 2015, http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/08/whos-your-uber-driver-more-of-them-are-women-survey.html (accessed June 27, 2019). 21. Independent Cab Co., http://www.taxi4u.com/calculate.html; and Uber Los Angeles, https://www.uber.com/cities/los-angeles (accessed June 27, 2019). 22.


pages: 393 words: 91,257

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

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

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

CHAPTER 18 The Totalitarian Urban Future The new urban paradigm elevates efficiency and central control above privacy local autonomy class diversity and broad-based property ownership. The same oligarchs who dominate our commercial culture, seek to profit from manipulating our moods, and influence the behavior of our children want to structure our living environment as well.1 Major tech firms—Y Combinator, Lyft, Cisco, Google, Facebook—are aiming to build what they call the “smart city.” Promoted as a way to improve efficiency in urban services, these plans will also provide more opportunity for oligarchs to monitor our lives, as well as sell more advertising. The “smart city” would replace organic urban growth with a regime running on algorithms designed to rationalize our activities and control our way of life.2 This urban vision appeals to tech oligarchs’ belief that their mission is to “change the world,” not simply make money by meeting customers’ needs and desires.

Silicon Valley first grew out of the suburbs, but many tech leaders now believe that “urbanization is a moral imperative,” writes Greg Ferenstein.6 If startups in suburban garages represented the individualism of cranky inventors and entrepreneurs, the future Silicon Valley will feature densely packed apartment complexes for workers who will become ever more corporate and controlled.7 The focus on apartment living for employees makes some sense for tech companies—like Facebook, Lyft, Salesforce, Square, Twitter, Yelp, and Google—that rely on a youthful, childless workforce.8 This kind of urban experience does not spur individuals toward independent adulthood and family formation, but recreates “life as close to the college experience as possible,” as Ferenstein notes, or a kind of prolonged adolescence.9 With traditional family-friendly housing near their workplaces out of reach for all but the wealthiest people, most tech employees will live in something like dormitories, perhaps well into their thirties.


pages: 257 words: 90,857

Everything's Trash, but It's Okay by Phoebe Robinson

23andMe, Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, crack epidemic, Donald Trump, double helix, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, microaggression, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft

Say it with me, y’all: Feminism! I was rooting for you; we were all rooting for you! Sadly, this is a sentiment I have expressed often over my course of being a feminist, but I probably felt it most in the days and weeks following the Trump election. I spent days after the election gathering my bearings. I would cry in Lyfts. Or get on the phone with my dad and talk to him for hours. Or do comedy shows because laughter is a great reprieve from anger. During this time, hurt, rage, restlessness, and a litany of other emotions layered on top of each like winter clothing during a ski trip, and pretty soon a call to action was formed.

But to be this sloppy makes my vajeen and I quote the great scholar of our time, music producer/American Idol judge Randy Jackson: “It’s gonna be a ‘no’ from me, dawg.” Thirdly. Sowwie not sowwie, but last I checked, my name is not “White Girl Murder Victim in the First Five Minutes of Criminal Minds,” so, no, I will not be taking a Lyft to your crib so I can be murderized. Coretta Scott King didn’t go through all she went through for me to go out like that. In my mind, she worked her tail off so I can work my way onto the Obamas’ holiday-card recipient list. In all seriousness, this is the kind of grossness hetero broads deal with no matter the dating app—Tinder, Match.com, Bumble, Raya, etc.

Anyway, one of the first results that popped up was an article by Psychology Today, so I clicked on the link and this was the opening paragraph: Workaholism is a soul-destroying addiction that changes people’s personality and the values they live by. It distorts the reality of each family member, threatens family security and often leads to family break-up. Tragically, workaholics eventually suffer the loss of personal and professional integrity. Gahtdamn, Psychology Today! This is how you open?!?! You’re at a twelve (my Lyft driver blasting Metallica at 11:45 P.M. in his compact Toyota Corolla), and I need you to be at a two (the volume my music is at when I’m at the checkout counter and have to spend five minutes correcting the cashier’s spelling of my first name). In all seriousness, while the picture that Psychology Today painted is accurate for plenty of workaholics, it wasn’t for me.


pages: 307 words: 88,180

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

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

They trace tens of millions of commutes, trips to the store, rides home, and first dates, dwarfing companies like Uber and Lyft in both quantity and granularity of data. The numbers for these categories lay bare the China-U.S. gap in these key industries. Recent estimates have Chinese companies outstripping U.S. competitors ten to one in quantity of food deliveries and fifty to one in spending on mobile payments. China’s e-commerce purchases are roughly double the U.S. totals, and the gap is only growing. Data on total trips through ride-hailing apps is somewhat scarce, but during the height of competition between Uber and Didi, self-reported numbers from the two companies had Didi’s rides in China at four times the total of Uber’s global rides.

So instead of seeking to both squash those startups and outcompete Silicon Valley, they’re throwing their lot in with the locals. RIDE-HAILING RUMBLE There are already some precedents for the Chinese approach. Ever since Didi drove Uber out of China, it has invested in and partnered with local startups fighting to do the same thing in other countries: Lyft in the United States, Ola in India, Grab in Singapore, Taxify in Estonia, and Careem in the Middle East. After investing in Brazil’s 99 Taxi in 2017, Didi outright acquired the company in early 2018. Together these startups have formed a global anti-Uber alliance, one that runs on Chinese money and benefits from Chinese know-how. After taking on Didi’s investments, some of the startups have even rebuilt their apps in Didi’s image, and others are planning to tap into Didi’s strength in AI: optimizing driver matching, automatically adjudicating rider-driver disputes, and eventually rolling out autonomous vehicles.

The O2O revolution was about bringing that same e-commerce convenience to the purchase of real-world services, things that can’t be put in a cardboard box and shipped across country, like hot food, a ride to the bar, or a new haircut. Silicon Valley gave birth to one of the first transformational O2O models: ride-sharing. Uber used cell phones and personal cars to change how people got around cities in the United States and then around the world. Chinese companies like Didi Chuxing quickly copied the business model and adapted it to local conditions, with Didi eventually driving Uber out of China and now battling it in global markets. Uber may have given an early glimpse of O2O, but it was Chinese companies that would take the core strengths of that model and apply it to transforming dozens of other industries.


Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World by Jeffrey Tucker

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, altcoin, bank run, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Dogecoin, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Google Hangouts, informal economy, invisible hand, Kickstarter, litecoin, Lyft, Money creation, obamacare, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, TaskRabbit, the payments system, uber lyft

The smartphone, the distributed network, open-source technology, the app economy, the global spread of the Internet, the invention of value-carrying peer-to-peer transmission services, the mobilization and personalization of the online experience—all of 5 these trends and technologies have been invented, gradually emerged, or matured in the last ten years. Right now, we can experience a form of commercial relationship that was unknown just a decade ago. If you need a ride in a major city, you can pull up the smartphone app for Uber or Lyft and have a car arrive in minutes. It’s amazing to users because they get their first taste of what consumer service in taxis really feels like. It’s luxury at a reasonable price. If your sink is leaking, you can click TaskRabbit. If you need a place to stay, you can count on Airbnb. In Manhattan, you can depend on WunWun to deliver just about anything to your door, from toothpaste to a new desktop computer.

The opponents of markets just can’t reconcile themselves to embracing the very thing they have supposedly advocated for generations: popular empowerment. Who could possibly be against such innovations? The answer is rather obvious: entrenched economic interests who stand to lose their old-world, government-regulated, and governmentprotected monopolies. Municipal taxi services, for example, feel deeply threatened by services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, which allow anyone to become a transportation service provider. The established monopolies are lobbying governments to crack down and are experiencing some modicum of success. San Francisco’s district attorney has sent threatening letters to companies that have vastly improved transportation, warning that they must make major changes in their business models.

And given its popularity, it seems to speak for a sector of opinion that is intractably opposed to all forms of market action. So what does this publication say about the sharing economy? “Uber is part of a new wave of corporations that make up what’s called the ‘sharing economy,’” writes Avi Asher-Schapiro in the strangely titled article “Against Sharing.” “The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and customers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with Airbnb, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy.” So far, so good. But then the writer dives deep into the ideological thicket: “under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations.”


pages: 441 words: 96,534

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

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

If this book does nothing else but remind planners to follow the people, then they should also be able to see how new technologies are driving a new, shared economy in transportation that holds the key to creating safer, more accessible, and softer streets. With a couple of clicks we can get a ride with Uber or Lyft, grab a shared bike or car, or navigate a city we’ve never been in before. New smartphone apps are making it possible to avoid traffic jams, locate bus and subway services, and walk to points of interest. These software bits are much less expensive than the atoms of hard infrastructure and are dramatically increasing the rate of innovation on our streets, giving way to a bigger vision with mobility on demand and changing the way we travel in our cities.

This wave of change has landed on our streets, and these changes will advance how we get around cities and use our streets. A smartphone can eliminate the anxiety of getting around, whether you’re in Boston, Bangalore, or Buenos Aires. But these new apps also pose big questions. While new transportation services like Uber and Lyft (called transportation network companies or TNCs in transport-speak), or shared-vehicle services like Car2Go, Zipcar, and Bridj, are using technology to dramatically lower the operating and entry costs for taxi and car services, they raise questions about social equity, safety, and the true costs of these popular services.

If all channels of public transportation—buses, trains, taxis, car pools, and car share—are integrated, citizens could pick a bundled package of these services, starting with, say, a €95 ($106) monthly transportation subscription for unlimited public transport in the city and also up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) of on-demand car services such as Uber or Hailo or Lyft. If subscribers need to visit relatives in the country or go camping for the weekend, they are entitled to up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) of shared-car use. If subscribers stay within these usage levels, they pay only that flat fee. More expensive options would let users get door-to-door shared taxi service plus public transport plus domestic transportation anywhere in the country via public transportation.


pages: 309 words: 81,975

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Dignan

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, DevOps, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, hiring and firing, hive mind, impact investing, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, race to the bottom, remote working, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart contracts, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, source of truth, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The future is already here, the High Line, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, Tragedy of the Commons, uber lyft, universal basic income, WeWork, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

But beyond that, the benefits in financial acumen, stewardship, and collective responsibility that this approach produces are unparalleled. Gig Economy. The platforms behind the gig economy like to talk about their movement as the savior of the American worker, empowering otherwise underemployed individuals to be their own bosses and live the entrepreneurial dream. After all, the drivers and laborers who make Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit work can choose when and where they work with unprecedented control. Realistically, though, many of the workers in the gig economy need money. That’s why they’re side hustling. They’re underemployed or unemployed, and the minimal extra income they earn from these services—85 percent make less than $500 a month—is helping them make ends meet.

But there’s something more troubling about the fact that one in four Americans is now participating in the gig economy. By turning work into a series of app-mediated transactions, we’re actually narrowing the scope of their participation to something closer to the opposite of entrepreneurialism. When you work at Lyft full time, you’re (hopefully) looking for ways to grow and serve Lyft all the time. If you see something worth doing, you might just do it. But when you drive for Lyft as a gig, your relationship is read-only. You transact, but you do not serve the bigger picture. Why would you? And that’s the problem. If we move toward an economy where everyone is paid “by the drink,” we run the risk of eliminating good corporate citizenship.

Evolutionary Organizations AES Askinosie Chocolate Automattic Basecamp Black Lives Matter Blinkist Bridgewater Buffer Burning Man Buurtzorg BvdV charity: water Crisp David Allen Company dm-drogerie markt elbdudler Endenburg Elektrotechniek Enspiral Equinor Evangelical School Berlin Centre Everlane FAVI Gini GitLab Gumroad Haier Handelsbanken Haufe-umantis Heiligenfeld Hengeler Mueller Herman Miller HolacracyOne Ian Martin Group / Fitzii Incentro John Lewis Joint Special Operations Command Kickstarter Lumiar Schools Medium Menlo Innovations Mondragon Morning Star Nearsoft Netflix Nucor Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Patagonia Phelps Agency Pixar Premium-Cola Promon Group Red Hat School in the Cloud Schuberg Philis Semco Group Spotify stok Sun Hydraulics Treehouse USS Santa Fe Valve Whole Foods W. L. Gore WP Haton Zalando Technology Zappos Zingerman’s Sources of Inspiration Airbnb Amazon Chipotle Chobani Danone North America Etsy Facebook GitHub Google Johnsonville Lyft Quicken Loans Slack Southwest Airlines Stack Overflow Toyota Warby Parker WeWork Wikimedia Zapier USING THE OS CANVAS The canvas can provoke incredible conversations and powerful stories. It can help you and your team identify what to amplify and what to change.


pages: 165 words: 50,798

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville

A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business process, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, disinformation, disruptive innovation, index card, information retrieval, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Lean Startup, Lyft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, Nelson Mandela, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, source of truth, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

Despite these challenges, Uber has built a platform that integrates mobile phones, social networks, and GPS to disrupt the business of transport. Their success is evident in the backlash from rage over “surge pricing” to lawsuits and fines in cities around the world. Interestingly, their defense is all about categorization. Uber insists they are not a taxi company nor a limo service. They simply match drivers and passengers. So they aren’t subject to established regulations, licensing, or insurance requirements. Uber isn’t alone in this argument. They have competition. For instance, there’s Lyft, a peer-to-peer rideshare whose drivers don’t charge “fares” but receive “donations” from passengers who are encouraged to sit in the front seat and give the driver a fistbump.

For instance, there’s Lyft, a peer-to-peer rideshare whose drivers don’t charge “fares” but receive “donations” from passengers who are encouraged to sit in the front seat and give the driver a fistbump. Their tagline is “your friend with a car.” Do we need any more evidence that a Lyft is not a taxi? Meanwhile, taxis aren’t standing still. They’re adopting e-hail apps that enable passengers to book regular taxis with their mobile device. In short, from lawsuits to competition, Uber has plenty of problems. This is to be expected. Disruptive innovation inevitably provokes a response. Or, in the words of John Gall, “the system always kicks back.” In Systemantics, a witty, irreverent book published in 1975, Gall uses the example of garbage collection to explain that when we create a system to accomplish a goal, a new entity comes into being: the system itself.

This bigotry is nearly invisible in the world of yellow cabs, but it would be hard to hide in Uber. They’ve built a new “architecture of trust” that re-frames the rules and relationships between passengers and drivers. The design of these information systems is tricky. Before pickup, Uber drivers and passengers see each other’s ratings and may decline a ride based on the number of stars. After a ride, drivers see the rating they’re given but not the review. Passengers see neither. Drivers are told by Uber not to solicit 5-star ratings, nor confront passengers about low ratings, but both do occur.


pages: 667 words: 149,811

Economic Dignity by Gene Sperling

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

As UberX was launching in 2012, of the nearly two million in-home workers like housekeepers, childcare workers, and direct-care aides—overwhelmingly women and a majority people of color—only 12 percent received health insurance from their job, and only 7 percent received a pension plan.14 According to a survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, fewer than 2 percent of domestic workers in 2011 received retirement or pension benefits from their primary employer, and only 4 percent received employer-provided health insurance; 65 percent of domestic workers did not have any health insurance.15 Even today, few realize that before the ride-sharing revolution, the taxi drivers that people used for generations rarely had health-care coverage or qualified for unemployment insurance or any help during downturns and recessions.16 For example, a 2007 study of New York City cabdrivers found they were generally classified as independent contractors—just as Uber and Lyft drivers are now—and did not qualify for overtime pay despite typically working more than seventy hours a week. A large majority lacked health insurance, despite substantial risk of on-the-job injuries.17 These facts may not have been easily captured in traditional job growth statistics or GDP measurements, but they mattered to people’s lives.

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

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS In 1914, the Lehigh Valley Coal Company claimed that it was “not in the business of coal mining at all” but merely gave miners access to its mines and then bought coal from those miners. Lehigh argued that these miners were not employees and accordingly were not covered by the workers’ compensation statute at issue. Judge Learned Hand rejected this argument as “absurd,” since these miners “carr[y] on the company’s only business” of owning mines and selling coal.49 Lyft, Uber, and FedEx drivers likely would use Hand’s “absurd” language to describe the denial of their status as “employees.” In our modern economy, gig workers and independent contractors are a large and growing group. However, many have not been able to achieve economic security. In response, workers have organized strikes and protests overcoming challenges inherent in organizing these groups.


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

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

“one very, very strange year”: Susan Fowler, “Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber,” SusanJFowler.com, February 19, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber. stalk their ex-girlfriends: Will Evans, “Uber Said It Protects You from Spying. Security Sources Say Otherwise,” Reveal News, December 12, 2016, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.revealnews.org/article/uber-said-it-protects-you-from-spying-security-sources-say-otherwise. after a female journalist: Sarah Lacy, “Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million Dollars’ to Shut Me Up,” Time, November 14, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, http://time.com/5023287/uber-threatened-journalist-sarah-lacy.

after a female journalist: Sarah Lacy, “Uber Executive Said the Company Would Spend ‘A Million Dollars’ to Shut Me Up,” Time, November 14, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, http://time.com/5023287/uber-threatened-journalist-sarah-lacy. he calls it “Boob-er”: Mickey Rapkin, “Uber Cab Confessions,” GQ, February 27, 2014, accessed August 19, 2018, www.gq.com/story/uber-cab-confessions. had been forced out: Mike Isaac, “Uber Founder Travis Kalanick Resigns as C.E.O.,” New York Times, June 21, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/technology/uber-ceo-travis-kalanick.html. Chris Sacca and Justin Caldbeck: Sage Lazzaro, “6 Women Accuse Prominent Tech VC Justin Caldbeck of Sexual Assault and Harassment,” Observer, June 23, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, http://observer.com/2017/06/justin-caldbeck-binary-capital-sexual-assault-harssment; Becky Peterson, “ ‘Shark Tank’ Judge Chris Sacca Apologizes for Helping Make Tech Hostile to Women—after Being Accused of Inappropriately Touching a Female Investor,” Business Insider, June 30, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/chris-sacca-apologizes-after-accusation-of-inappropriate-touching-2017-6; “Dave McClure Quits 500 Startups over Sexual Harassment Scandal,” Reuters, July 4, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, http://fortune.com/2017/07/03/dave-mcclure-500-startups-quits; Maya Kosoff, “Silicon Valley’s Sexual-harassment Crisis Keeps Getting Worse,” Vanity Fair, September 12, 2017, accessed August 19, 2018, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/silicon-valleys-sexual-harassment-crisis-keeps-getting-worse.


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Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The future is already here, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

Millennials will be the first modern generation to work in multiple “micro-careers” at the same time, leaving the traditional full-time job or working week behind. “Work” is more likely to behave like a marketplace in the cloud than behind a desk at a traditional corporation. While a central skill set or career anchor will be entirely probable, most will be entrepreneurs, and many will have their side gigs. For instance, Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are platforms that give people a way to leverage their cars and time to make money. TaskRabbit is a market for odd jobs. Airbnb lets you rent out any extra rooms in your home. Etsy is a market for the handmade knick-knacks or 3D print designs that you make at home. DesignCrowd, 99designs and CrowdSPRING all offer freelance design resources that bid logos and other designs for your dollars.

Many thousands of different jobs, entrepreneurial start-ups or self-employment opportunities, with hundreds of different options of profession. A citizen can choose from dozens of jobs, and change careers or professions. 8. The ability to walk, bike, taxi or take public transportation to work or play, without having to own a vehicle or needing to have a driver’s licence. People in most cities are now able to call an Uber or Lyft via a smartphone. 9. The ability for quick access to an airport that enables travel to anywhere on earth within a day, and to many destinations within a few hours. 10. The ability to take advantage of the economies of scale that a city offers, to reduce the total costs of energy, transportation, fresh food, equipment and services, with options such as buying in bulk, taking advantage of competition in the same market and making use of shared-economy apps that allow joint ownership or shared use. 11.

Most importantly, we are able to rate the quality of the experience, affording Uber the opportunity to improve the overall service and weed out substandard drivers or vehicles. A recent Quartz article1 identified that up to 30 per cent of Uber drivers in the United States have never had a bank account—many operated previously as taxi drivers in the cash economy. To be a driver on Uber, however, drivers need a minimum of a debit card to get paid. So Uber has had to solve this problem by allowing drivers to sign up for a bank account as part of the Uber driver application process, in real time. Unsurprisingly, this makes Uber the largest acquirer of small business bank accounts in the United States today, bigger than Wells Fargo, BofA and Chase combined.


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Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan

23andMe, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, banking crisis, basic income, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, cellular automata, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative editing, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Dogecoin, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, friendly AI, Hernando de Soto, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lifelogging, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, microbiome, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, personalized medicine, post scarcity, prediction markets, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, software as a service, technological singularity, Turing complete, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, web application, WikiLeaks

“Seven Months After FDA Slapdown, 23andMe Returns with New Health Report Submission.” Forbes, June 20, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2014/06/20/seven-months-after-fda-slapdown-23andme-returns-with-new-health-report-submission/. 4 Knight, H. and B. Evangelista. “S.F., L.A. Threaten Uber, Lyft, Sidecar with Legal Action.” SFGATE, September 25, 2041. http://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-L-A-threaten-Uber-Lyft-Sidecar-with-5781328.php. 5 Although it is not strictly impossible for two files to have the same hash, the number of 64-character hashes is vastly greater than the number of files that humanity can foreseeably create. This is similar to the cryptographic standard that even though a scheme could be cracked, the calculation would take longer than the history of the universe. 6 Nakamoto, S.

Some current examples are listed in Table 2-4. There is OpenBazaar (a decentralized Craigslist), LaZooz (a decentralized Uber), Twister (a decentralized Twitter), Bitmessage (decentralized SMS), and Storj (decentralized file storage). Table 2-4. Sample list of Dapps Project name and URL Activity Centralized equivalent OpenBazaar https://openbazaar.org/ Buy/sell items in local physical world Craigslist LaZooz http://lazooz.org/ Ridesharing, including Zooz, a proof-of-movement coin Uber Twister http://twister.net.co/ Social networking, peer-to-peer microblogging66 Twitter/Facebook Gems http://getgems.org/ Social networking, token-based social messaging Twitter/SMS Bitmessage https://bitmessage.org Secure messaging (individual or broadcast) SMS services Storj http://storj.io/ File storage Dropbox Swarm https://www.swarm.co/ Koinify https://koinify.com/ bitFlyer http://fundflyer.bitflyer.jp/ Cryptocurrency crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter, Indiegogo venture capital funding In a collaborative white paper, another group offers a stronger-form definition of a Dapp.67 In their view, the Dapp must have three features.

Beyond these situations in which a public interest must transcend governmental power structures, other industry sectors and classes can be freed from skewed regulatory and licensing schemes subject to the hierarchical power structures and influence of strongly backed special interest groups on governments, enabling new disintermediated business models. Even though regulation spurred by the institutional lobby has effectively crippled consumer genome services,3 newer sharing economy models like Airbnb and Uber have been standing up strongly in legal attacks from incumbents.4 In addition to economic and political benefits, the coordination, record keeping, and irrevocability of transactions using blockchain technology are features that could be as fundamental for forward progress in society as the Magna Carta or the Rosetta Stone.


Designing Web APIs: Building APIs That Developers Love by Brenda Jin, Saurabh Sahni, Amir Shevat

active measures, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, blockchain, business process, continuous integration, create, read, update, delete, Google Hangouts, if you build it, they will come, Lyft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, premature optimization, pull request, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software as a service, the market place, uber lyft, web application, WebSocket

To define the developer programs that you need to run, you need to perform a breadth and depth analysis. Breadth and Depth Analysis Most developer ecosystems are composed of a few big players and a lot of midsize and small players, as illustrated in Figure 10-1. Con‐ sider the following about the mobile ecosystem: you have a few big mobile app developers—Uber, Lyft, Facebook, Supercell, and so forth—as well as many, many other app developers working in smaller companies building mobile apps. 185 Figure 10-1. Developer tiers Developers (and hence developer programs) can be categorized along two axes, as shown in Figure 10-2: Depth axis The deep developer audience refers to the top partners or top clients that will use your API.

Ultimately, the version access pattern should be as stable as promised in accompanying documentation, and developers should have the option to opt into new versions while maintaining stability on previous versions. 134 | Chapter 7: Managing Change Expert Advice From the outset, we knew that there would be iterations in our API—Uber just moves too fast for there not to be. Therefore, each endpoint is versioned and makes it easy to access historical docs. —Chris Messina, developer experience lead at Uber Updating URI components is one strategy that many API providers use to define version schemes. These are often inserted as a base for the URI, before the specification of a resource-like entity. For exam‐ ple, take Uber’s ride requests API endpoint, https:// api.uber.c om/v1.2/requests. In this example, v1.2 is inserted before the requests resource.

Hackathons are also expensive in terms of time and resources, so if you do not invite the right people, track signups, and gather product insights, your management might see this effort as a waste of time and money. Hackathons can be very big, with a lot of API companies working together to help developers innovate. Slack has sponsored a hacka‐ thon with 2,000 developers, together with companies such as Lyft, Stripe, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. Each company provided training materials, engineers to support the hackers, and prizes for the best projects. Hackathons contribute to developer awareness and proficiency, they connect the API product team and developers at large, and they help collect product feedback and build empathy for developer problems.


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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

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

Other findings consistent with these are collected from opinion polls conducted by various industry groups, insurance institutes, and consumer advocacy groups and available at Saferoads.org. 8.Christopher Mele, “In a Retreat, Uber Ends Its Self-Driving Car Experiment in San Francisco,” New York Times, December 22, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/technology/san-francisco-california-uber-driverless-car-.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news &WT.nav=top-news&_r=0. Mike Isaac, “Uber Defies California Regulators with Self-Driving Car Service,” New York Times, December 16, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/technology/uber-defies-california-regulators-with-self-driving-car-service.html. 9.John Harris, “With Trump and Uber, the Driverless Future Could Turn into a Nightmare,” Guardian, December 16, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/16/trump-uber-driverless-future-jobs-go. 10.These are the findings of the city’s transport department as characterized by Nicole Gelinas in “Why Uber’s Investors May Lose Their Lunch,” New York Post, December 26, 2017, available at https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/why-ubers-investors-may-lose-their-lunch-10847.html. 11.

That would appear to be the plan.11 And in fact municipal financing for public transportation has declined sharply; mass transit ridership is down, and its infrastructure is crumbling in many cities. Meanwhile, Uber continues to lose billions of dollars every year ($14 billion between 2014 and 2018). If one allows oneself to become curious about this last fact, the story of Uber becomes quite interesting. In 2019, the transportation industry consultant Hubert Horan published a study of Uber’s economics and concluded that the firm has no hope of ever turning a profit. It “not only lacks powerful competitive advantages, but it is actually less efficient than the competitors it has been driving out of business.”12 It turns out, on closer inspection, that Uber never intended to turn a profit from driving people around in a competitive market.


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

A protective legal framework is not only essential to guarantee the right to organize and the freedom of expression but it can help to guard against platform-based child labor, wage theft, arbitrary behavior, litigation, and excessive workplace surveillance along the lines of the “reputation systems” of companies like Lyft and Uber that “deactivate” drivers if their ratings fall below 4.5 stars. Crowd workers should have a right to know what they are working on instead of contributing to mysterious projects posted by anonymous consignors. At its heart, platform cooperativism is not about any particular technology but the politics of lived acts of cooperation.

Perhaps the businesses that have fueled much of the world’s economic growth in recent decades have instead been in highly competitive industries, leveraging specialized high-variance talent and requiring large technological investments. But if one thinks about it, today’s sharing-economy platforms do exhibit some characteristics in common with Sunkist, and a worker-owned equivalent to Lyft and Uber seems quite feasible. Point-to-point urban transportation is a fairly uniform service in an industry with a limited amount of competition. Once the technology associated with “e-hail” and logistics is commoditized, which it will be, the economic fundamentals for the emergence of a platform cooperative would appear to be in place.

It’s how more and more people are working, whether they want to or not. Welcome to the Freelance Society. THE UBER-IZATION OF WORK Uber is the best known of these new kinds of businesses. It is nothing more than a temp agency, in which the predominant job on offer is that of a taxi driver (more recently Uber is trying other related services, such as courier or delivery person). Drivers are not treated as employees but as freelance contractors, and most drivers, after they subtract their considerable driving expenses, don’t earn any more than taxis drivers. Indeed, many Uber drivers complain they don’t earn minimum wage, much less a living wage.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic bias, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disinformation, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, surveillance capitalism, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Alibaba sold to 515 million customers in 2017 alone, and that year its Singles’ Day Festival—a sort of Black Friday meets the Academy Awards in China—saw $25 billion in online purchases from 812 million orders on a single day.40 China has the largest digital market in the world regardless of how you measure it: more than a trillion dollars spent annually, more than a billion people online, and $30 billion invested in venture deals in the world’s most important tech companies.41 Chinese investors were involved in 7–10% of all funding of tech startups in the United States between 2012 and 2017—that’s a significant concentration of wealth pouring in from just one region.42 The BAT are now well established in Seattle and Silicon Valley, operating out of satellite offices that include spaces along Menlo Park’s fabled Sand Hill Road. During the past five years, the BAT invested significant money in Tesla, Uber, Lyft, Magic Leap (the mixed-reality headset and platform maker), and more. Venture investment from BAT companies is attractive not just because they move quickly and have a lot of cash but because a BAT deal typically means a lucrative entrée into the Chinese market, which can otherwise be impossible to penetrate.

Early experiments proved successful as hundreds of thousands of people donated their idle processing time to all kinds of worthy projects around the world, supporting projects like the Quake-Catcher Network, which looks for seismic activity, and SETI@home, which searches for extraterrestrial life out in the universe. By 2018, some clever entrepreneurs had figured out how to repurpose those networks for the gig economy v2.0. Rather than driving for Uber or Lyft, freelancers could install “gigware” to earn money for idle time. The latest gigware lets third-party businesses use our devices in exchange for credits or real money we can spend elsewhere. Like the early days of ride-sharing services, a lot of people left the traditional workforce to stake their claim in this new iteration of the gig economy.

Families are locked into their PDRs, and that designation travels with them. It’s easier for a Google Yellow family to port into the Blue or even Green level than an Amazon to port into the Apple system. That’s why most families opted-in to Google when they had the opportunity. Your status is visible to all of the AIs you interact with. Self-driving taxi services like Lyft, Uber, and CitiCar don’t pick up Amazon riders with as much frequency, and cars sent to them tend not to be as nice. Waymo cars exclusively pick up Googlers. For Greens, the car is preset to the rider’s desired temperature and ambient lighting scheme, and it drives along the rider’s preferred routes.


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

Srnicek avoidance of regulators’ requests.5 So regulators are putting significant restrictions on what the Uber model can do. The other challenge is that Uber and other lean platforms are facing worker struggles. After an initial setback as workers were unsure how to organise and fight for their rights in these new business models, the last year has seen workers striking back in increasingly significant ways. Uber drivers, for instance are attempting to build unions; Deliveroo drivers are attempting to as well; and many of these lean platform companies are facing a number of lawsuits. Uber had to pay $100 million in one settlement; Lyft had to pay $27 million in another settlement; Postmates is currently facing an $800 million suit.6 One lawsuit for Uber estimated they would owe drivers $852 million if they were deemed employees and not independent contractors.

In this paper, I want to critically examine two common, but mythical, images of the future economy, with a particular focus on work and technology. 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.

It is astonishing that a company can lose $7.5 billion in two years, have never made a profit in its entire existence, and yet still be heralded as the next big thing for capitalism. Rather than survive by making profits, Uber survives through venture capital welfare: constant injections of new funding from investors. Looking closely at Uber’s funding rounds, what becomes apparent is that there is more and more suspicion from the investors. In the most recent funding round, for instance, the investor group SoftBank actually demanded that Uber take a 30 percent cut on their very high valuation.4 Effectively, Uber is finding it increasingly difficult to convince investors of its ability to generate profits even in the long-term. Uber also faces future challenges. The first example of these is regulators.


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

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

Beekman, Daniel, “The Seattle City Council Voted 8-0 Monday Afternoon to Enact Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s Ordinance, Giving Taxi, For-Hire and Uber Drivers the Ability to Unionize,” December 16, 2015. www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/unions-for-taxi-uber-drivers-seattle-council-votes-today/ 17. Somerville, Heather, and Dan Levine, “US Chamber of Commerce Sues Seattle over Uber, Lyft Ordinance,” Reuters, March 3, 2016. www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-seattle-chamberofcommerce-idUSKCN0W52SD 18. Gallup, “What Everyone in the World Wants: A Good Job,” June 9, 2015 www.gallup.com/businessjournal/183527/everyone-world-wants-good-job.aspx 19.

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

It won’t eliminate bad jobs and poorly paid workers, but what it can do is offer some positive change for these low-skill workers. In the Gig Economy, these workers have the chance to gain more control and have more flexibility and autonomy in their working lives. Uber drivers work under similar circumstances that most taxi drivers always have: they are contractors with no benefits, no overtime or minimum wage, and no access to unemployment insurance. But there are many more people willing to be Uber drivers than taxi drivers, in part because they can control when and how much they work. Similarly, the economic plight of an on-demand worker for a company like TaskRabbit or Postmates is not materially different from that of a low-wage hourly worker in a fast food restaurant or retail store.


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

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

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

In the coming years, experiments with QV will offer a proving ground for the practical utility of QV. RATING AND SOCIAL AGGREGATION Rating and social aggregation systems fuel today’s digital economy. Reputation systems are the crucial trust mechanisms that allow “sharing economy” services like Airbnb, VRBO, Uber, and Lyft to win consumer acceptance and give providers the confidence to adopt the system.46 They play a core role in the popular search services offered by Amazon, Google, Apple’s app store, and Yelp. Yet a growing body of evidence suggests these systems are badly broken. As noted above, almost all reviews cluster toward five stars, and a few at one star, making the resulting feedback biased and what statisticians call “noisy,” that is, not very accurate.47 Other online platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram, gather limited information because they only allow “likes,” and other limited forms of response, rather than allowing participants to exhibit exceptional enthusiasm, or distaste, for particular content.

Scott, 174 Ford, 185–87, 193, 240, 243, 311n30 France, 10, 12, 13, 90, 127–30, 139, 141, 182, 210 free access, 43, 211 free data, 209, 220, 224, 231–35, 239 free-rider problem, 107–8 Free: The Future of a Radical Prize (Anderson), 212 free trade, 23, 131–33, 136, 266 French Revolution, 46, 86, 90, 277 Friedman, Milton, xiii, xix Galbraith, John Kenneth, 125–26, 240 Galeano, Eduardo, 140 General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 138 General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest, The (Keynes), 1 George, Henry, 4; capitalism and, 36–37; inequality and, xix–xx; labor and, 137; laissez-faire and, 45, 250, 253; Progress and Poverty and, 36–37, 43, 240; Progressive movement and, 174–75; property and, 36–37, 42–46, 49, 51, 59, 66; reform and, 23; socialism and, 37, 45, 137, 250, 253; Vickrey and, xx–xxii Germany, 10, 12, 13, 45, 77, 93–94, 131, 135, 139 Gibbons, Robert, 52 Giegel, Josh, 32–33 Gilded Age, 174, 262 globalization: backlash against, 265; capital flows and, 265; common ownership self-assessed tax (COST) and, 269–70; foreign products and, 130; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and, 138; growth and, 257–58; imbalance in, 264–65; immigrants and, 28, 127–30, 132, 141–53, 156–66, 256–57, 261, 266–69, 273, 308n19; inequality and, 8, 9, 134, 135, 165; internationalism and, 140, 160–67; international trade and, 14, 22, 132, 137–38, 140, 142, 265, 270; investment and, 140–41; labor and, 130, 137–40; liberalism and, 255; public goods and, 265; Quadratic Voting (QV) and, 266–69; reform and, 255; VIP program and, 265–66 Glorious Revolution, 86, 95 GM, 185–87, 193, 196, 243 Goeree, Jacob, 304n34 Google, xxi, 314n29; advertising and, 202, 211–13, 220, 234; algorithms and, 289; asset managers and, 171; Brin and, 211; data and, 28, 202, 207–13, 219–20, 224, 231–36, 241–42, 246; immigrants and, 149–51, 154, 163, 169; Page and, 211; re-CAPTCHA and, 235–36; search and, 117, 202, 213, 233, 235 Google Assistant, 219 Gray, Mary, 233–34 Great Depression, 3, 17, 46, 176 Great Recession, 181–82 Greece, 55, 83–84, 90, 131, 296n16 gridlock, 84, 88, 122–24, 261, 267 Groves, Theodore, 99–100, 102, 105 growth, economic: capitalism’s slowing of, 3; common ownership self-assessed tax (COST) and, 73, 256; entrenched privilege and, 4; entrepreneurial sectors and, 144; equal distribution of, 148; globalization and, 257–58; index funds and, 181; inequality and, 3, 5, 8–9, 11, 23–24, 123, 148, 256–57; investment and, 181; liberalism and, 3–11, 23–24, 29; monopsony and, 199, 241; productivity, 254–55; quadratic, 103–5, 123; savings and, 6; stagnation and, 257–58; technology and, 255; wage, 190, 201 guest workers, 140, 150–51, 308n32 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), 158–65, 265–66 gun rights, 15, 76, 81, 90, 105–9, 116, 127 H1–B