Harry Shearer interviews Uber's smartest critic: Hubert "Bezzle" Horan

Hubert Horan (previously) is a transport industry analyst who has written more than 20 essays for Naked Capitalism as well as two peer-reviewed scholarly articles explaining why Uber is a "bezzle" -- that is, a scam that can't possibly ever make money, no matter how much it preys on drivers, ignores passenger safety, and destroys safe, regulated taxi businesses. Harry "Mr Burns" Shearer interviewed Horan (MP3) on the latest episode of his radio show, Le Show. It's a fantastic interview that quickly gets to the meat of Horan's critique of Uber, and then digs into both the ridiculous defenses that Uber and its defenders mount of its possible sustainability, and the social circumstances that allowed Uber to bezzle $21b from its investors in just a few years, while still attracting more investors. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Uber pretended its drivers were contractors, and now it owes New Jersey $650m in employment tax

Not everything is legal in New Jersey: Uber has to pay the state of New Jersey $650m in unemployment and disability tax for the employee drivers that it pretended were contractors. Uber is appealing. It will lose. Uber drivers in Jersey are now entitled to unemployment insurance. (via /.) (Image: Quotecatalog, Ervins Strauhmanis, CC BY, modified) Read the rest

Wework, Uber, Lyft, Netflix, Bird, Amazon: late-stage capitalism is all about money-losing predatory pricing aimed at creating monopolies

Wework is definitely a piece of work, a money-hemorrhaging bezzle whose recently ousted founder siphoned a reported $700m out of the company while self-dealing and presiding over a series of bizarre missteps (from serving tequila shots and hosting a dance party with Darryl from Run DMC at the same meeting where he announced mass layoffs to banning his employees from expensing meals containing meat while getting caught eating meat himself). Read the rest

Here's how to take Wired's advice and get your own e-scooter, for a fraction of the cost

Today, Wired advises you to "Stop Renting E-Scooters Every Day and Just Buy One Already!", which may or may not be good advice in terms of your own safety and the safety of others, but if you like the idea, you don't need to spend $1000-$1600 to risk your neck and the necks of everyone else on your commute. Read the rest

Uber general counsel threatens California: pass a law that makes drivers into employees and we'll spend $60m on a ballot initiative to overturn it

AB5 is about to pass the California legislature: it forces companies like Lyft and Uber to comply with the longstanding Dynamex decision and treat their employees as employees. Read the rest

Rideshare companies' effort to kill California employment bill is failing miserably

California's Assembly Bill 5 isn't radical: it merely affirms the obvious fact that Uber and Lyft drivers (and other "gig economy" workers) are employees, something that the California Supreme Court already made obvious in the Dynamex decision. Read the rest

The guy who figured out Bernie Madoff's scam now says GE is about to go bankrupt

Well before the collapse of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme -- the largest in world history! -- accounting investigator Harry Markopolos had publicly accused Madoff of running a scam; now he says that General Electric is "one recession away" from bankruptcy, with a "balance sheet in tatters." Read the rest

As Uber's stock craters amid billions in unanticipated losses, a hiring freeze on engineers

Uber -- a bezzle -- projected $8b in losses this year; but it lost more than $5b in a single quarter, and despite an initial stock price rise (dead cat bounce?) the company's shares have tumbled by more than 10% since, hitting an all-time low. Engineers who were scheduled to interview at Uber have had those interviews canceled by the company's HR department, who told them the company now has a tech-worker hiring freeze. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Uber projected $8b in losses for 2019, but it just booked $5.2b in losses in a single quarter

Uber says it can be profitable someday: all it needs to do is corner the "total addressable market" for all transportation and food delivery, which will give it $12t in annual revenue, which is 15% of all global transactions. Read the rest

Facebook's alleged growth is largely coming from countries where Facebook says it has a fake account problem

By Facebook's own admission, more than 10 billion of the 12 billion Facebook accounts ever created have been fake; Facebook's growth has stalled out in high-income countries like the USA (where the company is actually losing users), and the majority of growth the company posted in 2018 came from "India, Indonesia, and the Philippines," which also happen to be places where Facebook says it has "meaningfully higher" rates of fake account creation, exacerbated by "episodic spikes" of fake accounts. Read the rest

Bird Scooter reportedly lost $100m in three months, needs more capital to stay afloat

Bird Scooter really is the Uber of scooters: vastly overcapitalized, vastly overvalued, incapable of turning a profit...ever. Read the rest

Now that Uber and Lyft are public, their inevitable financial collapse is much clearer

Veteran transportation economics Hubert Horan has consistently published the best-informed, deepest critiques of Uber and Lyft, explaining how the companies can never, ever be profitable, and warning investors away from becoming the "greater fools" that allow Uber/Lyft's early investors to cash out at their expenses, while cataloging the many ways that Uber and Lyft's legislative strategy, coupled with predatory pricing, is destroying the cities they operate in. Read the rest

Buried in Uber's IPO, an aggressive plan to destroy all public transit

Uber is a wildly unprofitable company with no conceivable path to profitability in any universe, under any circumstances, but the company's founders and early investors (having already taken massive write-downs on their investments) are hoping to get at least some of their money back through the time-honored "greater fool" methodology. Specifically, they're floating the company on the stock market and hoping that naive investors hoping to wring above-inflation gains out of their 401(k)s and avoid being made into dog-food in their old age (we're waaaaay past the era in which impoverished old people get to eat dog-food) take their shares off their hands. Read the rest

Uber is a "bezzle," doomed to disappoint the suckers who buy into its IPO

Writing in New York Magazine, Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith draws on Hubert Horan's outstanding series on the underlying economics of Uber to describe why the company's IPO will be a terrible bet for the investors who buy into it. Read the rest