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DEFENDING UBER

By
on
January 16, 2018

Let’s face it… Uber gets its fare share of bad press!  I am not saying it’s not newsworthy, but it is out of proportion and it sometimes just unjustified.  I often have riders ask me… “Do you also drive for Lyft?”  I reply, “No, why do you ask?”  Many of them go on to say they use Lyft more because of all the stuff that is going on with Uber.   Well, people are funny, they won’t use Uber until they need Uber… right?  Oh, I can tell you some bad things about Lyft too, how they think they treat drivers better… but not so much in reality.  All I will tell you is I learned in business a long time ago that it is never good to put down your competition and so I won’t, but let’s move on…

 
Let’s clear the record on some of Uber’s bad press.  The first thing I noticed that really got me upset was Facebook’s postings last year, suggesting to delete the Uber app because our old CEO & founder, Travis Kalanick had accepted a seat on a special TRUMP-appointed economic advisory council to advise the president on issues of business.  This committee was filled with forward-thinking business leaders such as Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Travis Kalanick (UBER), Indra Nooyi (Pepsico) and others.  It was only UBER that was targeted.  Why wouldn’t people want to have forward thinkers such as these business leaders advising Trump (Lord knows he can use all the help he can get)?
 
This reaction of deleting the app was in response to Trump signing an executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Travis actually came out with a statement saying that since many of our drivers come from some of these countries (and left to start fresh in the US) that he was setting in place the following:
 
     1- Any driver that could not get back into the US due to this executive order would be paid in full
          their normal weekly wages.
     2- $1 Million set aside for any legal fees for these drivers that could not get back in to the US.
     3- Legal support for any driver needing advise concerning this executive order.
 
Here is a link to his memo to all Uber drivers from Travis-
https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/uber-ceo-offers-compensation-for-drivers-impacted-by-immigration-ban-will-talk-to-trump/

Travis decided he did not want to harm Uber by sitting on this council. He resigned from the council soon after all the ruckass hit. I’m not sure anyone won with this move, are you? 

 
And then there is the remark I heard from a young woman saying she was not going to use Uber anymore due to the sexual harassment charge against one SVP at Uber.  So, let’s get this straight… this person is going to punish thousands of Uber employees because one powerful individual at Uber sexually harassed women.  First off, I do not condone sexual harassment of any kind, never have and never will, but to punish an entire company for a few people’s bad judgment makes no sense.  Uber Technologies told employees that more than 20 people have been fired after a company investigation into sexual harassment claims, and according to a person. … Those cases were referred to Perkins Coie to further investigate and resolve! Uber dealt with this issue as quickly as it surfaced.
 
My main issue is with the press picking on Uber for anything and everything.  You do not start a company in 2009 and grow it to 60-70 billion dollars without some growing pains.  It is a company mainly comprised of millennials with not very much corporate experience (yes, they need some biz veterans like me). The problems the press reports can be found at many corporations today, but these companies are not in the spotlight the way Uber is.  I sometimes think that if an Uber executive sneezed without a tissue it would make the front page news at the Wall Street Journal.  

UPDATE:
The day after Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO of UBER, the company issued a memo to drivers stating for us to be prepared for “180 days of change.”  The changes have been fast and furious, some starting that same week as the memo.  Every month there would be new improvements made to enhance the driver experience… and they have!  As you can tell from the app, improvements are also non-stop for passengers as well.  Lyft always claims that they treat their drivers better… I am not sure they can still make that claim!!!!




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Jim
Greater Boston, MA

Long story short: I started with Lyft (4) years ago as a sabbatical from enterprise B2B sales. I did not like Lyft for some of their policies and the way they ran their business so, I switched to Uber which I prefer for many reasons. I have found driving for Uber in Boston to be one of the most engaging gigs I have ever experienced.

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