Uber and Lyft are still waiting for feedback from the U.S. securities regulator on their confidential submissions for IPOs, Bloomberg reports tonight, citing people familiar with the matter who aren't disclosing their identities. Read the rest
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that Uber can't use binding arbitration "agreements" to stop its drivers from joining a class action suit against the company; the court held that the arbitration clause was "illegally outsourcing an employment standard." Read the rest
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
Binding arbitration agreements were formalized in 1925, allowing two corporate entities of roughly equal size to resolve their disputes outside of a court, saving both parties a lot of money, but since then, the primary use of arbitration is to force employees, customers, patients and other comparatively weak parties to surrender their right to sue (or join class actions) as a condition of going to work, seeking care, or simply shopping. Read the rest
At times this week, wildfires made San Francisco's air the worst in the world, and the city's stores have largely sold out of the N95 filter masks that make the air barely breathable, leading to at least one enterprising Uber driver selling the masks out of his car (at a substantial markup: $5 each, compared with $1.30 each on Amazon in ten-packs); other drivers are giving the masks away for free. (via /.) Read the rest
A new report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority attributes the majority (51%-73%) of the prodigious 2010-2016 increase in San Francisco traffic congestion on Uber and Lyft; the rideshare companies dispute the finding and say that it's really down to increased Amazon Prime delivery vehicles and Lyft has offered to work with the city on "congestion pricing" whereby use of the public roads are taxed at the same rate for both the city's incredibly wealthy tech elite and struggling underclass, with the intention of limiting private vehicle use. Read the rest
In a new essay, Douglas Rushkoff examines Universal Basic Income, writing that it's not a gift but a "scam" and a "tool for our further enslavement."
Here's a snippet:
To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.
Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.
...As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money.
Making a living as an Uber or Lyft driver can be tough. An over saturated market, having too few people in need of your services, paying to maintain your ride and the high cost of gas can all take a serious bite out of a driver's bottom line. Read the rest
After a long day of driving for Uber and Lyft, this fella decided to work out exactly how much money he'd be taking home after paying taxes and expenses on his income as an independent contractor. While there's certainly a number of tax loopholes and write-offs that he could be taking advantage of, it looks like, for most people, driving for Uber or Lyft isn't worth the time. Read the rest
In a small village in Michigan, you can catch a ride in the "Amish Uber."
This new-fangled horse-and-buggy ride service was started by Timothy Hochstedler, a resident of Colon, Michigan.
"Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front door steps," Hochstedler said.
A ride in the "Amish Uber" costs just five bucks. But, you'll have to flag Hochstedler down to get one because he doesn't actually work for Uber. Read the rest
Liane Hornsey, Uber's HR chief, quit Tuesday after an investigation into racial discrimination found she "systematically dismissed internal complaints" about racism there.
The allegations raise questions about Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi’s efforts to change the toxic culture of the firm after he took over in August last year from former CEO Travis Kalanick following a series of scandals.
Khosrowshahi praised Hornsey in an email to employees, which was seen by Reuters, as “incredibly talented, creative, and hard-working.” He gave no reason for her departure. The allegations against her and Uber’s human resources department more broadly were made by an anonymous group that claims to be Uber employees of color, members of the group told Reuters.
They alleged Hornsey had used discriminatory language and made derogatory comments about Uber Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman, and had denigrated and threatened former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John, who left the company in June.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a midnight snack.
Photo: Uber handout. Read the rest
George Osborne was David Cameron's Chancellor of the Exchequer, the architect of UK austerity; he was fired by Theresa May when she became Prime Minister and he did not run for re-election in the disastrous election of 2017, instead taking a job as editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard. Read the rest
Denver police say that at 2:45am MT this morning, an Uber driver murdered his passenger. Details are still emerging.
From the Denver Channel:
Police said the driver shot the passenger, an adult male, multiple times after getting into some kind of altercation inside the vehicle. According to emergency dispatch communications, the driver called 911 to report the shooting.
Officers on the scene attempted to perform CPR on the passenger but the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Neither the driver nor the passenger has been identified. Police said the driver is being interviewed at the police department headquarters.
Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft have now both stated that they will no longer force victims of sexual assault into non-binding arbitration, as has been the practice of both firms until today. Read the rest
Leonard Steinberg, a longstanding New York City luxury property broker, claims that the existence of Uber and Lyft has blunted the premium that buyers were willing to pay to live in neighborhoods with good transit links, because they can afford rideshare cars and use the commute time to work, meaning that commutes are less of a factor in calculating the quality of life (because your day starts when you get into the car, not when you get to your desk). Read the rest
Mark Zuckerberg says it doesn't matter how creepy and terrible his company is, because you agreed to let him comprehensively fuck you over from asshole to appetite by clicking "I agree" to a tens of thousands of words' worth of "agreements" spread out across multiple webpages; when questioned about this in Congress, Zuck grudgingly admitted that "I don’t think the average person likely reads that whole document." But as far as Zuck is concerned, it doesn't matter whether you've read it, whether you understand it, whether it can be understood -- you still "agreed." Read the rest
The New York Times reports that Uber's autonomous vehicles require human intervention every 13 miles, on average, while Google's go 5,600: they were "not living up to expectations months before a self-driving car operated by the company struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz."
When Mr. Khosrowshahi took over as Uber’s chief executive, he had considered shutting down the self-driving car operations, according to two other people familiar with Mr. Khosrowshahi’s thinking.
But he became convinced that it was important to Uber’s long-term prospects. His visit to Phoenix was seen by the Arizona team as a critical opportunity to demonstrate their progress, according to the people familiar with the company’s operations in the Phoenix area. They wanted to take him on a ride without human interventions to demonstrate that the cars could handle so-called edge cases, tricky road situations that are hard to predict.
“With autonomy, the edge cases kill you, so you’ve got to build out for all the edge cases,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said at a conference in November.
They sure do.