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Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Transportation 79

samzenpus (5) writes "Travis Kalanick founded Scour, where he had the distinction of being sued for $250 billion by more than 30 media companies, and peer-to-peer file-sharing company Red Swoosh, but he is probably best known for co-founding transportation network company Uber. Seeking to be 'Everyone's Private Driver', Uber operates in a number of cities world-wide but has met with some regulation issues, and controversy. Travis has agreed to take a break from arranging rides and answer your questions. Normal Slashdot interview rules apply."

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so... (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47038705)

hows the lawsuits going?

Re:so... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47039821)

this was not a flamebait post guys, im genuinely interested on whats going on with the lawsuits he is currently involved in, is there any headway? with them? what about the states going after uber do we have any legal insight on that level?

Re: so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47046723)

I heard on the news that Uber drivers are refusing to transport service dogs.

Are you looking forward to the coming lawsuit ?

Will über set a policy, obey existing laws, or trot out the familiar " we leave it up to the driver" ?

What's the plan for the future? (3, Interesting)

Mark P Neyer (3659539) | about 6 months ago | (#47038765)

I can only assume delivering packages is the next step. Where do you go from there? Will Uber one day have an 'API for motion' where users can move anything, from anywhere to anywhere, specifying priority in exchange for cost? What about an API for quantum teleportation?

Re:What's the plan for the future? (1)

robbyb20 (651479) | about 6 months ago | (#47040395)

While this a joke(most likely....), a decent messenger service thats not a whole lot of cash for same day deliveries wouldnt be so bad. I would pay to have someone come pick up a package and deliver to the other person. Even go as far as to make it so that delivery is coordinated and the other person is wiating outside for the truck/car to come or receive notification that package is arriving via text so they know when to go downstairs/to the door.

Please note, messenger services are local only.

Re:What's the plan for the future? (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 6 months ago | (#47041147)

They're already offering this in NYC.

http://blog.uber.com/RUSH [uber.com]

Re:What's the plan for the future? (1)

robbyb20 (651479) | about 6 months ago | (#47041361)

Ill have to wait for it to come to Chicago. Good to know its there.

Thanks for the link!

a question that will not be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038805)

Do you intent to ever actually obey the local laws with your taxi services or just keep trying to find loopholes to hide in?

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#47038861)

Even I can answer your question. "Finding loopholes to hide in IS obeying the law. Otherwise one wouldn't be able to hide in them."

So your question sounds like : "Do you intend to ever obey what people who don't know the law believe the law says? Or will you continue to follow the actual law as written."

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

artao (648799) | about 6 months ago | (#47044265)

The way you say it you make it sound like loopholes are part of the INTENT of any given law. That is not the case. Finding loopholes is finding ways to legally break a law .. not "obeying the actual law as written" ... there's a distinction there.

Re:a question that will not be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038869)

Ahhh laws. Sometimes they get written to prevent innovation, sort of like offensive legislation to create a barrier of entry.

Re: a question that will not be answered (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038907)

And a follow up, with your drivers providing transport for a fee, when will Ãoeber require the drivers to be licensed appropriately ?

When a regular driver uses their car for a transportation service, regular insurance doesn't cover an accident. Does über care ?

When will über become a legitimate business and require the appropriate licensing and insurance from their drivers ?

Uber is a scam that circumvents legality for short term profit. Is uber a pump and dump scam that never intends to be legal ?

Re: a question that will not be answered (0)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 6 months ago | (#47039045)

> And a follow up, with your drivers providing transport for a fee, when will Ãoeber require the drivers to be licensed appropriately ?

They already do.

> When a regular driver uses their car for a transportation service, regular insurance doesn't cover an accident. Does über care ?

Uber Black+ already require a commercial license and commercial insurance

> When will über become a legitimate business and require the appropriate licensing and insurance from their drivers ?

Uber isn't a transportation business. Uber connects drivers with passengers. The driver is responsible for licensing and insurance.

> Uber is a scam that circumvents legality for short term profit. Is uber a pump and dump scam that never intends to be legal ?

Do you work for Yellow Cab?

Re: a question that will not be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039085)

Exactly. Uber doesn't care that they are running a transportation business with drivers lacking the appropriate licensing and insurance.

It's up to the drivers==scam

Re: a question that will not be answered (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | about 6 months ago | (#47042127)

Uber connects drivers lacking commercial driving licenses, and insurance that covers transporting passengers commercially, with passengers seeking commercial transportation. Fixed that for you.

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 6 months ago | (#47038911)

> Do you intent to ever actually obey the local laws with your taxi services or just keep trying to find loopholes to hide in?

Uber requires a commercial license for Uber Black and above.

Re:a question that will not be answered (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47039077)

> Do you intent to ever actually obey the local laws with your taxi services or just keep trying to find loopholes to hide in?

Uber requires a commercial license for Uber Black and above.

Doesn't matter - in some states, you must have at least a chauffer's license if you use your vehicle commercially, period, no exceptions; for example, here's the requirement straight from MODOT's website:

You must obtain a Class E license if you receive pay for driving a motor vehicle that transports 14 passengers or less, or if you transport items as part of your job. This rule applies to workers such as messengers, taxi drivers, chauffeurs, shuttle bus drivers, pizza delivery drivers, and day-care-center employees, to name a few.

Thus, it's a valid question to a real problem with the service.

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 6 months ago | (#47039149)

Yes, and Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

Re: a question that will not be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039253)

uber doesn't care if their contractors are licensed ?

Sounds like a scam, not a viable business.

Re: a question that will not be answered (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | about 6 months ago | (#47042103)

+1 Its exactly like anyone with a hammer can be a sub contractor in the construction industry. Or anyone with a flashlight, billyclub, and gun can become a private police officer on subcontract. Every industry does this.

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47039313)

Yes, and Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

Well, what a convenient workaround to legal liability.

Doesn't change the fact your original response to OP's valid question was a non sequitur.

Call Uber's insurance company (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 6 months ago | (#47039819)

Uber explicitly states that it is up to the driver to remain compliant. Drivers aren't Uber employees, they're independent contractors.

If the drivers get money from Uber as independent contractors, then Uber's workers' compenation and liability insurance policies cover the independent contractor unless the contractor provides proof of their own coverage. Without proof in Uber's hands, the liability falls on the general contractor, not the subcontractor.

Any city that wants to expel Uber should simply have the state insurance board examine Uber's insurance coverage. Once their insurer has been identified, a quick call to that company is all it would take to convey the real shenanigans being played by the policy holder.

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#47039369)

"Doesn't matter - in some states, you must have at least a chauffer's license if you use your vehicle commercially, period, no exceptions; for example, here's the requirement straight from MODOT's website:"

That is a legal requirement that appears to apply to anyone that is offering their services via uber. It would not appear to apply in any to uber itself.

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47039871)

"Doesn't matter - in some states, you must have at least a chauffer's license if you use your vehicle commercially, period, no exceptions; for example, here's the requirement straight from MODOT's website:"

That is a legal requirement that appears to apply to anyone that is offering their services via uber. It would not appear to apply in any to uber itself.

... and therein lies the taxi-cab loophole OP was talking about; Do you honestly think a company like Yellow Cab would get away with calling all their drivers "independent contractors" as a method of shirking liability?

Re:a question that will not be answered (1)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#47040429)

"... and therein lies the taxi-cab loophole OP was talking about; Do you honestly think a company like Yellow Cab would get away with calling all their drivers "independent contractors" as a method of shirking liability?"

Taxi companies all over the US do in fact call their drivers independent contractors as a method of shirking liability.

Taxi regulations in the US are local and unless there is a local rule requiring the company to independently verify the licensing of their drivers they would be able to get away with not doing that as well. I dont know of a jurisdiction that would allow it but I only know a tiny fraction of them, so it very well might be the case somewhere. Unlikely because taxi regulations are normally written by and for the incumbents to limit the competition and so tend to be heavy on licensing requirements, but with every little town in the country setting their own rules you never know.

It's an interesting situation, because it's clearly not reasonable or practicable for a worldwide service to try and be aware of, check, and enforce thousands of local municipal codes on its users. But the big cab companies that have bought the markets in the big cities will continue to fight tooth and nail to preserve their privilege and can expect some success in the political arena.

Re: a question that will not be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039113)

So they can do it, but choose not to have a licensed fleet.

Which raises the question, which commercial drivers are exempt from the law ?

Re:a question that will not be answered (2)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 6 months ago | (#47039531)

I love this rationalization---

"If you pay for premium service, you can expect a higher degree of safety. If you purchase standard service, it's a roll of the dice."

If Uber isn't requiring proper licensing and insurance from these service providers, but is referring people to use them, Uber will be held liable for insurance claims.

The lawsuit won't come from the guy's family who got paralyzed after an Uber driver ran over him on his bike. The paralyzed guy's health insurance company will sue Uber because they don't want to pay for quadraplegic care for the rest of his life.

Guess who has the tougher set of lawyers...

how to keep it fun (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47038873)

Wow, Uber really transformed my life. 6 mo ago I got in a bad car accident and now I rely on ride services to get around (I use UberX in the Los Angeles area). Without Uber and others I would be calling cab companies.

However, I've noticed that Uber used to be much more fun, but has been backsliding a bit. It used to be that half the fun of Uber was meeting the drivers, who were driving Uber but also were actors or grad students or other interesting people with flex time. But in the past couple months it's become more and more dominated by gruff foreigners (Armenians primarily in the LA area) who say two words for you and listen to their music. The cars are still clean, and they arrive on time and get you there efficiently. But it's no longer fun and feels more like a cab, albeit it doesn't smell like smoke.

Somehow, Lyft has resisted this trend, and rides on Lyft are still really cool. On my last Lyft the driver and I were talking about articles in the recent issue of Fast Company. When was the last time you did that in a cab?

So the question: how can Uber continue to grow while maintaining the quality of their driver pool, specifically drivers that are fun and engaging?

Re:how to keep it fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038903)

WTF did you expect?

it's a low barrier to entry job field that's perfect for immigrants
NYC most of the medallion owners are immigrants as well

Re:how to keep it fun (1)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 6 months ago | (#47038933)

If Uber wanted, they could keep the barrier high.

Re:how to keep it fun (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 6 months ago | (#47039093)

Yeah, that would be awesome, they could restrict demand artificially in a vain attempt to live in the old glory days, but then how to stop their competitors? I suppose that they could make some kind of 'innovative' and 'disruptive' deal with municipal governments so that their competitors cannot compete.

Anyway, according to Uber representative OverlordQ in this thread, there is already a higher grade service ironically called Uber Black+ (maybe Uber NoBlacks+ would be more appropriate, amirite?!) wherein the drivers are insured and licensed. This would be in direct conflict with libertarianism except that it's a choice, and choice is always good.

Re:how to keep it fun (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47039209)

When it comes to interesting and fun drivers, uber black is even worse, because all the drivers are licensed limo drivers. So by that point you're just in a town car that has convenient ordering and payment. Lyft is doing a better job differentiating, because they've been able to maintain fun and interesting drivers. I don't know how they do it. All I know is when I ride Uber I sit in the back, but when I ride Lyft I sit in the front. Completely different vibes. UberX has slipped even more; it used to be that even thought it was X the drivers still dressed well and would open the door for you. Now you just get in and out, say where you're going and that's all. Last time the driver handed me his phone so I could enter the address, we didn't say one word.

I like Sidecar too, but their recent overhaul has been a disaster in the area where I live. They opened up the flexibility for drivers to have higher or lower fares, and now all the prices in my area are 50% higher or more compared to Lyft and Uber.

Re:how to keep it fun (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 6 months ago | (#47039407)

christ, that sounds simply abysmal. my heart strains for your deprivation and loss. excuse me while i wipe away these tears of bitterness toward the inhumanity of man. i am so, so sorry. :(

please reply to this if you need any help, i've been there.

Re:how to keep it fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039011)

Somehow, Lyft has resisted this trend, and rides on Lyft are still really cool. On my last Lyft the driver and I were talking about articles in the recent issue of Fast Company. When was the last time you did that in a cab?

Did you 69 each other as well?

Re:how to keep it fun (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#47039019)

So the question: how can Uber continue to grow while maintaining the quality of their driver pool, specifically drivers that are fun and engaging?

Perhaps they could charge a small premium for conversationally engaging drivers. They could even have a web interface where you could select the topics you enjoy discussing (sports, politics, current events, art, etc.) to help match you to the appropriate driver. Maybe you could even drill down to the favorite team or political persuasion of the driver, to avoid heated arguments. Another alternative, is that you could learn to speak Armenian.

Re:how to keep it fun (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47039757)

Perhaps they could charge a small premium for conversationally engaging drivers. They could even have a web interface where you could select the topics you enjoy discussing (sports, politics, current events, art, etc.) to help match you to the appropriate driver. Maybe you could even drill down to the favorite team or political persuasion of the driver, to avoid heated arguments. Another alternative, is that you could learn to speak Armenian.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but...

One thing that Lyft does and Uber does not do is Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to log in with their facebook account. So presumably if there were an overabundance of lyft drivers available, then Lyft could do some interesting analysis to match people up based on shared characteristics. Sure, sport teams as an example. Or they match you up so your Lyft driver is the cousin of one of the players on your old college roommate's weekend soccer team. No snark here, I dunno it's kind of a kooky idea but it could work. But it requires an overabundance of drivers. If there's only one or two drivers avillable near you any way, then you can't find pairings like that.

It's a taxi service, duh... (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 6 months ago | (#47040445)

One thing that Lyft does and Uber does not do is Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to log in with their facebook account.

Required Facebook membership? No thanks.

Lyft could do some interesting analysis to match people up based on shared characteristics.

These people need to get out of their comfort zone. Expose them to different cultures and ideas. Using FacEbook to ghetto-ize drivers is xenophobic. No sympathy for the OP complaining about immigrant drivers, either.

Re:It's a taxi service, duh... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47040873)

Whatever man. I am the OP and apparently one of just a few people in all the comments who has actually used uber and understands how it works. I really value the service, as I said, and am asking a question about the service and how it is changing. I hope the question is addressed.

Where are you getting the money for all this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038881)

I've got a question regarding where it is you're getting the money for these startups, especially considering how controversial Uber is. You've had regulators throw the company out of New York and plenty of other major metropolitan areas are fighting to stop Uber, either through regulatory enforcement or through new regulations. I do not invest, largely because I don't make that kind of money, but who is it that's willing to put up the kind of money it takes to start a company founded on a premise that I'd like to believe people could see as controversial before it was rolled out?

What about the environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038919)

Every day I read articles about climate change and that it's important to do what we can to minimize emissions. Then local governments get pissed when someone figures out a way to increase the number of passengers in cars, which should be a win, also it should lessen the numbers of cars on the road at the time easing congestion. All this proves to me is that governments are still more concerned about putting money in their pockets and that their ramblings about the environment is just an act.

First po5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038923)

to Download the First, you hacve to who sell another volume of NetBSD

Disruption! (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 months ago | (#47038961)

As far as I can tell, "disruption" means "ignore laws and regulations". So, how do you know which laws and regulations are ok to ignore?

Transparancy (1)

mrbene (1380531) | about 6 months ago | (#47038975)

As I understand it, during surge pricing, Uber sets the price multipliers, which incentivizes additional drivers while simultaneously reducing demand, ensuring a consistently good experience for those customers who choose to go ahead with their trip.

How do consumers trust that Uber is acting responsibly with this ability to set prices?

yeah, the multipliers are bunk (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 6 months ago | (#47039041)

The multipliers are a complete load of crap. They're supposedly based on demand, yet...I've noticed I can open the app, see a sea of available uber cars, and yet there will be a 2.5x multiplier in effect.

Re:Transparancy (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 6 months ago | (#47039687)

How do consumers trust that Uber is acting responsibly with this ability to set prices?

Why does that matter? If the price is too high then don't use Uber. If you don't like variability in price then don't use Uber. It's not a monopoly.

Re:Transparancy (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47041137)

true. there are three main carshare companies. usually when one has surge pricing the others dont. it's worthwhile to have all three apps on your phone.

Re:Transparancy (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 6 months ago | (#47040955)

The same way that I trust that any other non-monopoly is acting responsibly with its ability to set prices: not buying things from them if they don't.

When apples are $3/pound I will eat something else.

lololololol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47038981)

Do you suck dick for coke?

Re:lololololol (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 months ago | (#47039577)

followup: do you suck coke for dick?

Show-stoppers not being technical problems... (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 6 months ago | (#47039003)

It seems like most of the new and interesting things being attempted on the net these days are stopped by legislation or lawsuits from vested interests, not by any technical problem. This has bit you twice in two VASTLY different businesses. What is you opinion on this, and what can we do about it?

Re:Show-stoppers not being technical problems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039907)

Stop voting for republicans and democrats.

when are you going to fix the star rating system? (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 6 months ago | (#47039007)

I talk with almost every driver I ride with and ask them how Uber works for them. Some are clearly filtering, others quite honest and forthright. In general a lot of them seem to be reasonably pleased.

The near-universal complaint is the star rating system. For those who don't know: Uber requires drivers maintain a FOUR AND A HALF STAR RATING or they're "fired."

One driver described a guy who he picked up, he was cheerful and polite, the guy barked out the address, glowered in the back seat with his hoodie up, didn't say a word, got out, and gave the driver a 1 star rating.

Other drivers complained that many of their fares are drunk out of their minds and give them ratings that are, at best, a mistake. People can't dial a telephone when they're drunk, but uber wants them to give a subjective rating? Can't you imagine the drunk chick who's all "WEEEEELELLLLL I THOUGHT HE HAAAAAAD A FUNNNNNNAAAY NOSE. TWO STARS FOR YOU!"

Most of the drivers said that the star system just simply wasn't understood by passengers - or that passengers had a star-to-happiness scale the drivers thought was reasonable, but Uber's scaling was absurd; they don't fault the passengers at all. I've said to each driver that "One star means you did something horrible, or I felt unsafe, or the car was filthy, etc. Two stars means something was off. Three stars to me meant a fine ride, no complaints. Four stars meant something was above the norm/my expectations. Five stars meant singing angels descended."

Each nodded and said, basically: exactly, totally reasonable...but Uber expects that even if the ride was nothing special, you're giving drivers 4-5 stars.

I'm sure you've got some beautiful excuse for how this is just the way you're dealing with having so many people who want to drive for Uber. But really, with a ranking system none of the customers understand how you use, you might as well just be employing Russian Roulette.

Oh, and by the way: I'm fed up with the fact that I can't leave feedback/a complaint for drivers I have to cancel a ride with because a driver was dicking around for 10 minutes (I call these guys the Uber Couch Drivers - they're sitting on the couch withthe app open...get up, brush their teeth, make a sandwich, kiss the wife goodbye, take the dog for a walk, then get in the car, adjust their hair, punch in my address into the GPS, then make their way over). Fed up with the fact that there's no way to reach a person at Uber if there's a problem, like accidentally leaving something in the car, or having an immediate safety concern about a vehicle or driver. I'm fed up with the form replies to complaints via the app (I don't want $5, or even $10 off my next ride. I want to you to fix the problem I complained about), and I'm fed up with your marketing staff thinking they're just the Bee's Knees. Three times I've tried to get Uber to do a promo for an event that totally fits Uber's potential customer base, and each time, the best that you could offer was your standard $10 off a ride, only for new signups. Which as an event organizer, made me take a big, epic Polite Chuckle and delete the email. You might as well employ robots as your marketing staff, because they've got about as much freedom or creativity as one.

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (2)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 6 months ago | (#47039061)

> The near-universal complaint is the star rating system. For those who don't know: Uber requires drivers maintain a FOUR AND A HALF STAR RATING or they're "fired."

That's not unique to Uber, that's pretty much for any service industry based job.

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#47039515)

The rating itself isn't a problem.

The problem is that the riders have no idea what an "expected" rating is, and leave 3-4 stars for drivers that need 4-5 stars to not fail the system.

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47041215)

here's how I do it:
five star is because something was awesome: the driver is really nice, or helps me out in some way, or something really sticks out. This is 15% of rides for me.
baseline is four stars. on time, clean nice car, pleasant driver. This is 80% of rides for me.
three stars is because something wasn't good. everything was still servicable, I was picked up on time and got to my destination. But maybe the car wasn't the best, or the driver was gruff, or he chose a suboptimal route. Basically at this point I might as well take a cab for this level of service.
two stars or one star: something sucked or went wrong. I never want to see that person again.

you're right, everybody's scale is going to be different. This works for me because it lets me call out outstanding peformance and problems.

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (1)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 6 months ago | (#47039433)

Maybe they should consider meta moderating ?

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 6 months ago | (#47039745)

*golf clap*

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039723)

This is a problem with using a 5-star review scale. That's something that's easily understandable by consumers, but worthless for gaining actionable data. There's too much variation in each person's subjective rating. For instance, some people simply won't ever give 1 or 5 star review unless something unreasonable happened. For others, like you, they see the 5-star system like the grading system in school...3 means an average "I was happy, but not overly" experience. The 5-star scale has its place, but it should be solely limited to communicating review scores to other customers.

If you're looking for actionable data, NPS is what you're looking for. It's more reasonable to expect drivers to maintain a positive NPS score rather than 4.5 stars.

FWIW...my company collected over 100M reviews last year on behalf of the businesses we represent, so doing reviews right is a big part of my job.

Re:when are you going to fix the star rating syste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47043491)

Interestingly, I've always given my Uber drivers 5 stars, as each of them has been excellent —we basically hang out talking about a range of topics while he drives me in a very clean car as good or better than I could drive myself. One time I was with friends and he was downright entertaining.

Anti-competitive behaviors? (3, Interesting)

poached (1123673) | about 6 months ago | (#47039051)

How do you respond to allegations that Uber has engaged in price-fixing for profit and anti-competitive tactics for market share? Examples: Uber forced driver shortage to boost surge pricing [gawker.com] , Uber staff making bogus reservations at competitor's service. [gawker.com] Is Uber just a big bully? Are you?

Re:Anti-competitive behaviors? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#47044847)

Uber staff making bogus reservations at competitor's service

On the internet we call this a "denial of service attack", and it is considered a criminal act.

Uber & limits of Disruption (3, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 months ago | (#47039079)

Mr. Kalanick, thanks for taking the time!

My question: Given that the concept of "disrupting" a current revenue stream is currently an influential contextualization for startup companies today, including Uber, what industries/companies are *out of bounds* for disruption?

Is any human enterprise fair game for Uber's concept of "disruption"?

For example, would Uber consider a tech solution that allowed a construction company to save million$ by staffing their entire workforce with legal part-time migrant workers, effectively ending the job for all labor employees except migrant workers...is that disruptive?

Is anything out of bounds when "disrupting" an economic system?

Re:Uber & limits of Disruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47047195)

"Disruption" is just a buzzword for "very innovative business model". Everything everywhere should be fair game for disruption - we need improvements of everything across the board, and anyone arguing otherwise is just trying to protect their rent.

Re:Uber & limits of Disruption (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 months ago | (#47051243)

yeah I see what you mean I hope they respond

my question was intended to dig beyond the buzzword hype by asking a question that would be valid and informative no matter what you call your hot new idea...

you said

Everything everywhere should be fair game for disruption

so that is *one* answer...I hope they address it a little more if they answer but I wouldn't be surprised if they say something like that

I don't know what I think about the topic, but I wonder if Uber ever got any offers from cab companies to buy their system...I doubt it as cab companies already have all kinds of tech...maybe some more suburban markets would be able to make use of Uber's system as a regular cab company...idk

Due diligence (5, Interesting)

ddtstudio (61065) | about 6 months ago | (#47039281)

So what factors were and weren't considered in your decision to ignore existing regulations in many of the cities you operated in? Did you assume local governments would change laws retroactively, or would not attempt to enforce? Or did you have legal counsel advise you that your operations did not fall into the regulated category (which Uber now seems to admit it does)?

Basically, what was the process?

How do you manage the stress? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 months ago | (#47039373)

I stress over my mortgage and car loan, though they are manageable because I can manage the payments. If someone had a potential liability of even just 0.1% of $250 billion, I could work the rest of my life and never make up 1/100th that kind of liability. How does it not affect your heath?

Re: How do you manage the stress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039575)

A follow up:

Assuming the game is to skirt regulations as long as possible and leave the drivers to fend for themselves; When the gig is up, who gets to cash out, and who gets stuck holding the bill ?

How much thought goes into the exit strategy when starting a business skirting laws and ignoring regulations ?

What's the balance between being a lawyer? (1)

GWBasic (900357) | about 6 months ago | (#47039541)

Uber seems to hit a lot of legal challenges. It seems like, in every city, the incumbent taxi market has a different set of legal hurdles for you to pass through. It's kind of a shame, too, because everyone involved with Uber is making an honest living providing a needed service.

What's tends to be your day-to-day balance of being lawyer versus entrepreneur? Would you say that you have more legal woes than a normal startup? Do you think this is "par for the course" any time someone's starting an interesting company?

Driver Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039679)

I am an uberX driver and I enjoy the work and I make good money. I was able to get a new car and I have put into service. I like most of the customers and I love my new car.

But I worry that if i get into an accident, which has already happened to me, I will be stuck without coverage for body damage because all personal insurance policies exclude coverage for commercial usage. Uber provides liability coverage, but I could be out of luck with comprehensive collision coverage and be stuck with the total loss of my vehicle with no recourse.

You expect us to use good looking, newish cars. When will you provide us with an insurance alternative to properly protect our investment? I would opt into reasonably priced coverage, but presently I can't get it at any price. When will you solve this?

Alternatives (1)

robbyb20 (651479) | about 6 months ago | (#47039849)

There seem to be a lot of people that are questioning the legality of Uber which I understand but I have a question for Travis and also the people on this board.

What prompted you to conceive this service? Was it lack of offerings available, difficulty finding a reliable ride or something else?

For those of you questioning this service, what alternative do you suggest that offers the same ease of access to transportation? I am someone who uses Uber 2-10 times a week and I do not have anything as convenient as Uber. In my area, I can get Uberx(personally owned cars), taxi(big name guys) and black cars. Are the objections to this service valid in my area since all the regular players are involved or is this directed to just UberX?

Where are you Kalanick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040945)

You pussy. Can't answer these questions?

Re: Where are you Kalanick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044005)

Yours will be the first he answers, I'm sure of it.

Re: Where are you Kalanick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47045691)

Except he won't because he's too much of a *pussy*

Re:Where are you Kalanick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47048353)

AMA backfires. Travis Kalanick confirmed pussy.

Local knowledge (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 6 months ago | (#47042165)

Does Uber verify that drivers actually know the area in which they service? For example in New Zealand (where Uber does operate!) drivers would be legally required to hold a P (passenger) endorsement on their license, and the transport agency requires that drivers demonstrate area knowledge to get a P endorsement (so that they can prove that they aren't going to rip passengers off by going the wrong route).

Re: Local knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47046883)

Ãoeber takes the libertarian view ; it is up to driver to be compliant and the customer to be informed.

Re: Local knowledge (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 6 months ago | (#47050597)

That's a ridiculously poor model.

Can we have a better feedback section? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044035)

In spite of Uber not having a destination point, drivers have refused me rides. I totally want to blacklist them from Uber, how can I?

What's Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47067927)

There has been speculation that Uber may move into the delivery/currier business. Is it something that you've talked about and what other areas are you exploring if any?

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