Bookmarked Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals (The Guardian)

Amid taxi strikes and riots in Paris, Kalanick ordered French executives to retaliate by encouraging Uber drivers to stage a counter-protest with mass civil disobedience.

Warned that doing so risked putting Uber drivers at risk of attacks from “extreme right thugs” who had infiltrated the taxi protests and were “spoiling for a fight”, Kalanick appeared to urge his team to press ahead regardless. “I think it’s worth it,” he said. “Violence guarantee[s] success. And these guys must be resisted, no? Agreed that right place and time must be thought out.”

The Guardian take a dive into the decisions that led to where Uber is today. This is unpacked further in three podcasts, including an interview with Mark MacGann about the decision to blow the whistle.
Liked Why “Uber for education” metaphors are flawed (and just rubbish) by an author (

The basic idea of an Uber for education metaphor is that universities will be made redundant (again, it would seem) because individual learners will go direct to a marketplace of private educators. As well as the deep problems such a model relies upon as highlighted above, people rarely consider why a sector isn’t like Uber.

Listened Uber – a Silicon Valley drama: Chips with Everything podcast from the Guardian

Jordan Erica Webber chats to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac about Super Pumped, his new book on the rise and fall of Travis Kalanick

Mike Isaac discusses Travis Kalanick and the cult of the Silicon Valley CEO. Isaac explains that Uber was not dreamt up in Paris, but ripped off from Lift. One of the challenges faced with disrupting the industry are with laws and public relations. One of the shocks was how much data and manipulation of privacy involved to succeed.
Liked Uber projected $8b in losses for 2019, but it just booked $5.2b in losses in a single quarter (Boing Boing)

Uber says it can be profitable someday: all it needs to do is corner the “total addressable market” for all transportation and food delivery, which will give it $12t in annual revenue, which is 15% of all global transactions.

In the meantime, Uber continues to lead the global rideshare business, which does not have a single profitable company — but Uber loses more money than any of them!

Replied to Now that Uber and Lyft are public, their inevitable financial collapse is much clearer (Boing Boing)

Horan writes, there’s no way that Uber and Lyft “can produce their service at costs consumers are willing to pay” and there’s “no evidence that they can ever profitably expand to any other markets (food delivery, driverless cars, etc.).” Uber and Lyft are losing money faster than any Silicon Valley startup in history, and they have “none of the economic characteristics that allowed companies like Amazon or Facebook to quickly grow into profitability and drive strong public equity appreciation.”

I wonder if all those uses of Uber as a metaphor for innovation will be reviewed or recanted?
Bookmarked All the Bad Things About Uber and Lyft In One Simple List by Angie Schmitt (

The report in the Daily Bruin revealed anew that Uber, Lyft, Via and the like are massively increasing car trips in many of the most walkable and transit friendly places in U.S.

It comes after a raft of recent studies have found negative effects from Uber and Lyft, such as increased congestion, higher traffic fatalities, huge declines in transit ridership and other negative impacts. It’s becoming more and more clear that Uber and Lyft having some pretty pernicious effects on public health and the environment, especially in some of the country’s largest cities.

Angie Schmitt compiles a number of negative effects associated with Uber and Lyft. They include an increase in driving, predominantly operating in transit-friendly areas, often replacing biking and walking, hurting transit and hoarding data.

It is interesting to consider this disruptive innovation alongside a wider discussion of the future of public transport.

Bookmarked Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me by Cory Doctorow (Locus Mag)

And Uber and Lyft’s apps are encrypted on your phone, so to reverse-engineer them, you’d have to decrypt them (probably by capturing an image of their decrypted code while it was running in a virtual phone simulated on a desktop computer). Decrypting an app without permission is “bypassing an effective means of access control” for a copyrighted work (the app is made up of copyrighted code).

Uber and Lyft can use DMCA 1201 to stop you from figuring out how to use them to locate co-op drivers, and they can use the CFAA to stop you from flipping your booking from Uber to Meta-Uber.

This reminds me of the conversation between Douglas Rushkoff and Nathan Schneider on platform cooperatives.