The stakes just keep going up, it seems.
Words like “world domination” seem to be getting thrown around more than usual, loads of dollars and companies (and stories) seem to be flooding the space on the regular, and one of the world’s most well respected entrepreneurs is jumping in the passenger seat to get a piece of the action. Will we see words like “union” and “working wage” hit the news more in the near-future? Time will tell, but not too much this week, anyways.
Here’s a quick rundown of the week that was in the Rideshare world.
Though this certainly won’t put Sidecar alongside Uber and Lyft as far as traction and public perception immediately, tossing another $15 million behind their wheels, with Richard Branson joining the cause, is definitely a big eyebrow raiser.
Just as much as I’m a sucker for all things Branson (Virgin America for life — could be interesting to see if he tries to fold the two together down the line), I found the article’s emphasis on Sidecar trying to set themselves apart with the carpooling component and their Shared Rides. That seems sure to be the next big regulation war to be waged, and Sunil Paul and Co. are certainly ahead of the game to Uber/Lyft on that front, which is no small feat.
…nor is it a small feat to add awesome new in-app tech to support drivers, which is exactly what this deal represents. A win-win-win for both (and drivers) and yet another reminder that Sidecar is banking on superior experience to keep growing. Great step in that direction.
So while Sidecar was busy adding Branson and Sherpa to their docket, and championing their own carpooling, Lyft refused to be out done and essentially said, “F— it, we be carpoolin’.”
Armed with the positive words of some LA City Council Member and perhaps a nod to Uber saying “F— it” to every law progressive-business-hating, regulation-loving
socialists Europeans are throwing at them, LyftLine is now live and ready to use in Los Angeles!
Raises two big questions: 1) In spite of the super flowery quotes the Lyft blog is pushing from SF drivers (summary: “LyftLine is like the best ever omg!”), does Lyft have enough driver volume and overlap in LA to support this right now?
And 2) More importantly for drivers, is this LEGAL??? Feels very similar to the LAX/American airports everywhere legal confusion, though I have to admit, a cop is going to be pretty hard pressed to start pulling over Lyft drivers on suspicion of 2 (or more!) pick-ups. Will make for an awesome cop-tough-talk, though.
“Sir, have you been using LyftLine tonight?”
The actual title of the Fortune piece is “Uber Banks on World Domination”, but it’s actually more of a detailed description about how they serve as middle-men to finance cars for their drivers—and the program is one of their big international growth selling points.
A little long, but an extremely important read about Uber’s savvy leveraging their network and helping drivers in the process. It also delivers an epic quote from the Mali-immigrant turned Uber driver Adama Traore it profiles; a former Google Bus driver, Adama declared that he “spent way too much time in Mountain View.”
Uber, turning dreams into reality: “Drive for Us and You Can Get the F— out of Mountain View!”
Plans to turn 50,000 former military men into UberX drivers. Robert Gates is involved. Wow. The US Military is definitely the right place to start for world domination in my opinion, not to mention engendering and leveraging a great deal of American good will for a multi-billion dollar industry (shades of Goodell, Roger and the NFL).
Well played, Uber. Next up: Lyft Navy Seals Program, anyone?
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria sat down with the man, the myth, the Kalanick – and Fareed didn’t really understand the aqua analogy at first. But yeah, Uber wants to make hailing a car as easy as turning on a faucet. There ya go.
Aside from that, decent quotes about Uber’s expansion into Europe, their plans to go deep in the on-demand everything game and bringing on former White House company man David Plouffe into the fold.
There are a couple sites/apps now that allow riders/drivers to check out what their fare. I still like evoking Jamie Foxx in Collateral quoting accurate fare estimates to Jada Pinkett (I can do LA +/-$2 or your money back, for the record), but this is likely a vastly superior alternative.
“Lyft, Uber Sinking Taxi Business in SF!” Dang. Time to get a new business model, taxi-companies (carpooling, perhaps?). All the taxi-hailing apps in the world can’t save you from TNC world domination.
Til next week, happy and safe driving this weekend.
Here are the rest of the articles I read during the week.
Do you think Uber is primed for World Domination? Do you care about Sir Richard Branson getting in the ridesharing game? Did I miss any stories that you thought were really important? Feel free to drop a line and let us know your thoughts any time.
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-Jack @ The Rideshare Guy