RSG038: Steven Hill On What’s Wrong With Uber

Today’s guest on the podcast is one of the most well-spoken critics of Uber and the on demand economy.  There are obviously a lot of people in this category but not many of them have researched and studied the industry like Steven Hill.  I first read about Steven’s work a year ago and knew it was only a matter of time before he came on the podcast as a guest.  You may also be familiar with his book, Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers.

On the podcast, we talk about all that Uber has done to revolutionize the taxi industry, the problems that’s created for workers and we also attempt to come up with a few solutions.  Hope you enjoy it!

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

In this episode, we talk to Steven Hill, author of Raw Deal and how American workers are getting screwed over by the 1099 economy. Do you agree? Listen here!


Interview with Steven Hill

The Rideshare Gig Economy

  • In general, Uber and Lyft good inventions – taxi cabs needed a challenge
  • Not a perfect system
  • Problems arise with labor issues, lack of job protections, and wages
  • Sounds great to be your own boss, but there’s a huge risk to that
  • Uber doesn’t really have to care about its drivers – keeping costs low is priority

Uber and Profitability

  • At some point, Uber can’t keep burning through drivers without realizing some consequence
  • However, the economy isn’t great, which is why people keep driving for Uber
  • Companies waiting longer to go public for several reasons
  • UberPool a classic Silicon Valley pivot

Is Uber Turning Into a Minimum Wage Job?

  • Depends on the state of the economy and how badly people need jobs
  • People are not making $100,000 a year
  • Media embraced that story – not at all correct
  • Now Uber is a “part time job” – another pivot
  • There are worse ways to make money
  • Not just the drivers affected: riders and everyone sharing the streets

The Best Path for Workers, Cities

  • NGOs or nonprofits could step in and create an app where people share rides with others going to the same place
  • Basically, an easier version of the carpool
  • Cities could create “congestion zones”
  • For workers, security accounts could be created – safety nets for drivers
  • Right now, companies have an incentive NOT to hire employees
  • Better regulations for drivers
  • Raw Deal book goes into greater detail and how other countries handle ridesharing


  • Really easy to criticize the on-demand economy, but much harder to solve these problems
  • A lot of pros to driving for Uber and Lyft, as well as other delivery companies
  • However, how can we make things better for people out there driving right now?
  • Hope I gave you something to think about in today’s podcast

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

Drivers, what do you think about Steven’s take on Uber and the on demand economy in general?

-Harry @ RSG