RSG212: Emil Michael on Uber

Listen to this episode on your phone here.

I have an interesting guest on this week’s podcast: Emil Michael, formerly of Uber! If you watched the Showtime show Super Pumped, you’ll actually see (the character of) Emil there. In this podcast episode, we talk about what made Uber such a rocketship of a company, why it became so newsworthy and polarizing, plus the future of Uber. You won’t want to miss what Emil has to say about Dara’s leadership, opinions on food delivery, and his thoughts on why Uber partnering with taxis is “the dumbest move.”

Intro to Emil Michael

  • Strategic investor and advisor currently
  • 2013-2017 Chief Business Officer of Uber
  • Uber in its heyday was just a phenomenon
  • Idea of pushing a button and getting a ride was revolutionary

Why was Uber so unique?

  • Online presence, offline activity
  • Airbnb started around the same time
  • Incredible enthusiasm of the employees who were there early on
  • Solved so many problems in the early years

Grading Uber, 5 years later

  • Nice guy approach
  • DoorDash flip
  • Growth of companies in other markets
  • Stock market is giving them a grade

Market share losses

  • Food delivery in particular
  • Loss of market share in the US, Mexico, and other countries
  • Story has been more about DoorDash’s successes vs. Uber Eat’s failures
  • Variety is the key to customer retention

How do drivers fit into this equation?

  • Driver need base changes every year
  • UberX launch
  • Worries about giving the drivers the rider destination – not sure that’s good for either drivers or riders
  • Way to balance between part-time and full-time driver needs

Uber + Taxi partnership

  • “Big mistake”
  • Taxis compete with drivers – hurting the very Uber drivers driving!
  • What happens in times of surge and taxis are cheaper?
  • Problem compounds on itself

Show Notes

Emil Michael is not super pumped about ‘Super Pumped’

Follow Emil on Twitter @EmilMichael

Read the transcript here