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From Syracuse.com

Meet three of Syracuse’s new Uber drivers as app readies for arrival

Updated on June 3, 2017 at 2:46 PM Posted on June 2, 2017 at 9:30 AM

BY PATRICK LOHMANN [email protected]

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Uber and other ride-booking apps are stepping up their efforts to prepare Syracuse for their arrival in the next few weeks. … The apps could come Syracuse as early as June 29 if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a new bill fast-tracking the apps’ arrival. …

And three drivers, all of whom are professional drivers for medical or other private transportation, spoke briefly with Syracuse.com about why they signed up for the app and what they hope it will bring to Syracuse. …

Screenshot 2017-06-23 21.19.26Darnell Brandon

… He is a former Syracuse taxi driver and drives for a local medical transport company now. He said his strategy will be to drive around downtown on weekends in particular, where “you get those drunk people from Armory Square.”

He said one major appeal is being able to decide where to pick up passengers. He said he often felt unsafe going to rough neighborhoods when a taxi dispatcher sent him there.

“(Driving a taxi) was dangerous because sometimes the dispatcher would send us to like the real bad neighborhoods. The dispatcher would just throw you in there, to the wolves,” he said. “With Uber I will decline it if they send me to a bad neighborhood.” …

Garron Murphy-Babson

Murphy-Babson is buying a new vehicle — probably a Toyota SUV — to drive for Uber. … He and his husband are trying to make enough money to move out of Syracuse to the suburbs. … He said he quit his job as a taxi driver because it was too dangerous. One factor was witnessing a homicide downtown on Thanksgiving, he said.

The reason for Uber’s vast success is because the taxi business got loaded with extra costs by public regulation. Owners of cabs got the number of cab medallions limited so that owning a car with a legal entitlement to carry passengers for money was worth a lot. And cab drivers got loaded with non-discrimination requirements, as the black and the gay former cabdrivers above complaining about the uncompensated risks they had to take to drive a cab.

Uber just decided that all those laws don’t apply to itself because it was a tech company.

Uber’s CEO, who had the kind of personality that would assume that he was above the law, was just forced out, so expect to see a long battle to load Uber up with the kind of costs that taxicab companies got stuck with.

 
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  1. I recently had an unpleasant car-rental experience at a Hertz location that supplied cars to Lyft drivers. As a regular Hertz customer, I had to wait nearly four hours for a car (for which I had a reservation), because Lyft drivers had rented all the available vehicles.

    Did you know that many Uber and Lyft drivers are renting the cars that they are driving? I didn’t.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Not all drivers own a vehicle or a suitable one. Uber and Lyft have partnerships with rental car agencies so drivers can rent vehicles. Uber also has a leasing program.

    This unwed pregnant Uber driver rented a Nissan Altima. She paid an initial $350 and $215 was deducted from her Uber paycheck every. She drove from October 10 to November 21, had her baby at the end of November, and went back to driving a week after delivery. Six weeks after having her baby, Uber told the Washington Post that she began missing payments four weeks after she started driving. She owed Uber $1400 for the rental and another $600 for damages after her parked car was sideswiped.

    She is also a home health aide, but in no condition to do that work. She lives with her mother, owes $5000 in student loans, and is food stamps. A Go Fund Me drive raised $15,000 for her. The Washington Post was mainly concerned with her lack of maternity leave as if that would solve anything. Baby daddy is broke and not around.

    https://youtu.be/sC9IkSkGcns

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.b8cc0fb8dc7a

    https://www.gofundme.com/support-maya-warren-kortez
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  2. ” a legal entitlement to carry passengers for money was worth a lot”

    In a few places like NYC alot of money. In places like Syracuse it was a method of tax collection. In NYC restricting taxis was partly to reduce congestion.

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    • Replies: @Wally
    No, it was an attempt to reduce competition and keep prices up.

    How much is a NYC taxi medallion worth these days?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-is-a-nyc-taxi-medallion-worth-these-days/

    "The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March. Last year, medallion sales ranged from $325,000 to $750,000. What has happened since 2013? The arrival of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which are now a competitive force on the city’s streets."

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  3. This so-called “shared economy” really isn’t.

    Those are not really “tech companies” but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Uber can be practical and cheaper than cabs but I hear they don’t pay so well their drivers.

    On the other hand, I think there are more white drivers, as for some reason taxi drivers in most Western cities are African or Pakis (I wonder why? Just as nail saloons are exclusively Asian).

    AirBNB is also disappointing when you have problems with a host or a tenant, basically they disappear, their customer service sucks and you have to sort out the situation yourself.

    Not a fan of this “new economy”, although over-regulation is also a problem.

    Anyway, I think anyone should be able to carry passengers for a charge, I don’t really see what is the problem.

    Many years before Uber, in many Latin American countries some cities had “illegal vans” which actually were in many cases better than the “legal” transportation offered (buses and taxis). But they were forbidden because, well, I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Black cab drivers in London are still overwhelmingly white natives, usually your increasingly rarely spotted cockneys. To become a licensed black cab driver you have to pass the intellectually demanding knowledge test which takes a well to prepare for by memorising and driving the streets of London. Minicab firms seem to be dominated by Pakistanis and Afghans whilst Uber and illegal cabs, less of problem these days due to a crackdown and uber, seem to come from all over the MENA, South Asia and Africa. There has been rape issues with these drivers. On the rare occasion I can't walk it or take public transport I will only use a black cab, very expensive in London.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    Those are not really “tech companies” but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Like Facebook, it's a "tech company" because of the kinds of people who run and use it. It's just another identity signal.

    My buddy just described his designing a hydraulic based robotic system this week, but since he's old economy, he's not tech.
    , @Eagle Eye

    I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.
     
    Adam Smith was well aware that tradesmen hate competition and will conspire against it wherever and however they can.
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  4. Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don’t get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    If James Taranto were doing Best of the Web for Sailer comments, this quote would appear under "Paging Fox Butterfield."
    , @Johann Ricke

    Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don’t get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.
     
    Maybe the solution to high crime rates is to disband the police department and contract Uber to drive people around.
    , @lavoisier
    In fact this is true. Being a taxi driver in a major US city is particularly dangerous--far more dangerous than police work.

    And many taxi drivers lost their lives because of PC and the insistence by the great and the good that one should not fear black people--even the very vulnerable like taxi drivers.

    Shame on Giuliani for siding with the fool Danny Glover and forcing honest people to die for the myth that black people are no more dangerous than anyone else.

    Liberals are always willing to let others die for the sake of preserving their egalitarian myths.
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  5. The Circle of Life for Silicon Valley:

    - Dork who lives in Silicon Valley comes up with an idea
    - Dork gets ungodly amounts of funding from venture capitalists
    - Dork hires talented programmers, who are almost always men, specifically White and Asian men
    - Dork makes billions by skirting laws that apply to other established competitors
    - Dork wants to make more billions so he starts flooding his firm with H1B visas
    - Dork gets called out for not being diverse/inclusive enough
    - Dork begins flooding his firm with diversity hires
    - Dork quits the company, gets shoved out, or gets bought out by another large tech firm
    - Dork travels the world praising the virtues of diversity while his company gets destroyed due to it
    - Dork spends the rest of his life pondering seeking higher office
    - Dork’s firm shuts down or gets swallowed up entirely, ceasing to exist

    Read More
    • Agree: countenance
    • Replies: @SFG
    Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in zero generations.
    , @Pachyderm Pachyderma
    And usually, the Dork in question is Jewish... Did you forget to add that?
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Random, sort of in line with your dorks, but a better salesman, Bernie Madder-Class, is Elon Musk. He talked NYS into fronting the parcel of property and the money to build his solar panel plant in Buffalo at the River Bend site, formerly home to Republic Steel. In return for the $750 million building and land Musk was to hire 500 people to work at the plant and another 1500 statewide. Plant is finished. Only hires are maintenance staff . Musk announced that they will start building his new solar roof tiles, not solar panels, in California to work out the bugs, no timetable for Buffalo start up. All and any equipment in the Buffalo plant belongs to Musk, according to a "force majeure" that was later added to the agreement. Genius on his part, doubt they will every build solar tiles or roof panels here. The Buffalo News stated this week that Musk declined to let them tour the plant.
    , @Neoconned
    LOL not juat vc,firms.

    There's an absurd amount of Wall St money going to Silicon Valley.

    For instance FB is worth more than Walmart even though it has lower revenues, has little in the way of real assets & other than a few token ad revenue and gaming fee streams it doesnt make money.

    Ive even seen articles saying that if FB changed the way it did accounting it would LOSE MONEY every yr....
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  6. Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel H
    The world would have been better served if Glass had stuck with cab driving rather than pursuing his "art".
    , @PiltdownMan

    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.
     
    That's because New York was scary as hell in the 1970s.
    , @Henry's Cat
    Or just watch Taxi Driver.
    , @dr kill
    1970's Manhattan was fun as hell for a Bucks County farm boy. Less than two hours from Buckingham to the Port Authority. I think it was 8 bucks one way. I feel sorry for anyone who didn't live thru the 70's.
    , @Ed
    My dad drove a cab in DC for 40 years. He was robbed twice, during one robbery he was stuffed in the trunk and left there for hours.

    He's from Ghana and would only pick up black men if they wore suits, otherwise he'd pass them by. He used to tell me that he'd never pick me up if he saw me on the street hailing a cab. Evidently it's a standing rule for most DC cabbies. Needless to say they rarely if ever venture to Anacostia.

    When DC sought to force through anti-discriminatory measures the cabbies protested. Think the measure still passed though.

    Anyway dad finally quit because of.....Uber.
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  7. @Bill P
    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    The world would have been better served if Glass had stuck with cab driving rather than pursuing his “art”.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Atonal music is like stationary running, dry water, unwritten literature, or flavourless cuisine – it's just a stupid, nonsensical concept.
    , @Anonymous
    I'll disagree here. I don't know all his work, but just a few days ago I relistened to his Itaipu (which I haven't listened to in years) and was struck by how much I still like it.
    , @Romanian
    He has plenty of the usual kind of music, too, including soundtracks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BioylrW8jhU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0RKpmjjpLQ

    I really like much of his work. I just do not listen to the rest.
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  8. Back around 1990 there was a spate of NYC taxi driver killings that gave rise to the universal bullet-proof divider (which is always open in Manhattan and the nice parts of Brooklyn because the easy rapport increases tips). Around that time I asked a black taxi driver what he thought about the danger and if he was worried. He said, “Sh-t no, when a brother puts a gun to my head and says, ‘give me all your money,’ I give him all my money. Somebody gotta teach these Indians and Arabs that.”

    Read More
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  9. “With Uber I will decline it if they send me to a bad neighborhood.”
    Really, you can do that? Doesn’t Uber have the same sort of “community” rules as Airbnb, forcing its drivers to pick up any godforsaken creature that demands a ride through the app?
    If not, I’m sure that “feature” is coming soon.

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    • Replies: @Hodag
    On the app a picture of the person requesting the ride pops up so the driver can identify them. If a 60 year old black lady pops up you are going to give her a ride since she is unlikely to rob you. If it is a twenty year old black male, then it is time to decline the ride and go to McDonalds.

    This is the deal - this really helps normal black people. Uber will pick you up in the hood if you do not look like a thug. Pre Uber, in Chicago, cabs stayed downtown and in a few neighborhoods that were rich and densely populated. I lived in a rather prosperous but unhip neighborhood - St. Ben's- which had a lot of families so few barflies that needed cabs. I did a lot of walking. Then I moved to an even more unhip neighborhood during the Uber transition. I can get an Uber now in less than five minutes. Black people that do not live in the real ghetto say they have no problem.

    Also you need a credit card to use Uber. Criminals tend to be too dysfunctional for that.
    , @Fredrik
    I'm pretty sure that this was structured to give drivers plausible deniability.

    I remember that the focus when Uber was new was on picking up passengers through the app so drivers couldn't apply the diversity test on the potential customer until it was too late.
    , @EH
    Generally the rideshare companies will not send a driver to a pickup more than ten minutes away, so staying away from bad areas allows some choice of passengers. OTOHd rivers don't know where prospective riders want to go before they accept the rides, nor usually until they actually pick the passenger up. (I think one can check the waybill before picking up the customer, but few drivers know that. Also, some riders do not enter a destination in the app.) After picking up the passenger, at that point the driver gets the address and the driver can cancel the ride, but doing so reduces the driver's acceptance rate and may result in the driver getting blackballed if the acceptance rate falls much below 90%. Before accepting a ride request he driver only gets to know the passenger's first name and rating from prior rides, if any (which may not be that of the actual passenger - people often call rides for friends) and to see the passenger's photo, if they uploaded one. The worry about bad neighborhoods is somewhat misplaced, the traffic on the route, the number of interstate merges and left turns, and the particular passenger determine nearly all of the risk of injury. The problem with going to bad neighborhoods, particularly late at night, is that the driver will have to eat the cost and time of driving a long way back to an area where they are likely to get another ride request.
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  10. Aww c’mon. Don’t you feel sorry for Lenny Kravitz?

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  11. Uber is a cash furnace

    It’s based on exploiting a bunch of fools thinking they’re gonna make easy money. It’s not different than being a paper delivery boy – the newspaper hires you as a independent contractor(with stipulations and penalties that ensure only illegals take it since their ID is fictitious) and you pay for everything else.

    That’s right all the costs are on you now. Perfect scam for a company turning all their workers into independent contractors which absolves them of everything.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc. No disability ins for themselves, etc. So if they get in a wreck – boom!!! BOHICA.

    Those fools buying a new vehicle for Uber are f**king idiots. The insurance they need to carry on themselves and the car will offset most of the profits they make. Debt serf here I come!!!

    You know how much the average Uber driver makes in a month? $364.00!!!

    https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

    Welcome to the 3rd world Silicon Valley style.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    Career instruction video for liberal arts majors, courtesy of our new immigrant overlords:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjZ9pfObVYs

    , @Ed
    Uber, the company, doesn't make any money. It's investors are so focused on the latest SJW outrage that they are missing this fundamental fact. It's merely burning through the investors' capital.
    , @International Jew

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc.
     
    I wonder if an insurance company will pay at all, if the driver is carrying a noncommercial policy. In fact, one attraction of working for Uber is that you "save money" on insurance. I.e. insurance fraud.
    , @utu
    On the positive side Uber may end up curing some people (their drivers) of libertarianism.
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  12. Well, surely, if they appoint Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg as their new CEO everything will be OK and Uber’s value will just keep going up and up.

    Oh, and install a child-minding center in every Uber vehicle for the mothers who want to drive!

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    • Replies: @Yak-15
    I have a statistician intern working on assessing my theory on short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs. I will share the results here. Seems like a source of alpha no one has approached.
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  13. Uber just decided that all those laws don’t apply to itself because it was a tech company.

    Absolutely, Steve. That is spot on! I was talking to a friend who does quite a bit of Uber driving about this very thing recently.

    Is it any new creative thing to say “oh, we’re gonna have a lot of individuals drive their own cars as taxis”? Big deal, and it could have been done by anyone with an old computer and a bunch of phone lines long ago. Yeah, the smart phone world made it easier for tracking, payments, feedback and that, but Uber is no big brilliant (not in the British sense!) idea.

    The difference, as you wrote, is that anyone else without string-pulling people to get them out of the regulations, would have been shut down the first week. This whole uber deal is another example of crony-capitalism, which idiots all over the web mistake as capitalism. Get some big guys to get the normal government rules out of the way, and you can do what millions of people would have done long before your tech-savvy ass came along.

    Way, way back, after a couple of us arrived for a summer job at the Greyhound bus station, an old black man drove up in an old car, old even for then – some beat-up Malibu or whatever – and offered us a ride (3 miles or so) to the office where we needed to go for $4 total or something. We had called a taxi company, and it was going to be around $10 (not just a ways back, but we were students, see?) We took him up on it, and at that office, people said “oh, that was an illegal taxi guy … watch out in the future, …etc.” I thought, “what’s illegal about giving people a ride for some money, that’s competition”, knowing nothing about regulations – I had my libertarian mindset while some of your commenters were still in diapers.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    "people said “oh, that was an illegal taxi guy … watch out in the future, …etc.” I thought, “what’s illegal about giving people a ride for some money, that’s competition”"
     
    In some places in the world you'll be taken further, and charged more, than you really want to go or pay, and they won't be happy unless you do pay.
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  14. Uber is to All Island Taxi Medallion Cab co. as Marriott Residence Inn is to the Plantation Motel on 4040 Long Beach Road in Island Park Long Island.

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  15. @Jack D
    Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don't get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.

    If James Taranto were doing Best of the Web for Sailer comments, this quote would appear under “Paging Fox Butterfield.”

    Read More
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  16. He and his husband ….

    Am I the only person who, upon encountering nonsense like this stuff, immediately and irreversibly dismiss the writer and the writing, unable to give further serious attention to the piece at hand? Even though, intellectually, I realise “this writer is referring to two mentally ill, perverted men who sodomoise each other as ‘husbands’ because the deranged culture now commands it” my mind refuses to accept the phrase in the way it would if my cat were to say right now “Pardon me, but have you any Grey Poupon?” I might know my ears had heard the sounds, but the entire affair would be so preposterous and alien to reality I don’t think I could bring myself to respond and engage with the situation….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Grumpy
    The speed with which the media/entertainment industrial complex inures the public to newspeak is impressive.
    , @Old fogey
    Believe me, you're not alone.
    , @MB
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  17. Within six months, the whites and blacks in that story will be replaced by guys named Rizwan and Sayed. I guaran-damn-tee it.

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  18. @Grumpy
    I recently had an unpleasant car-rental experience at a Hertz location that supplied cars to Lyft drivers. As a regular Hertz customer, I had to wait nearly four hours for a car (for which I had a reservation), because Lyft drivers had rented all the available vehicles.

    Did you know that many Uber and Lyft drivers are renting the cars that they are driving? I didn't.

    Not all drivers own a vehicle or a suitable one. Uber and Lyft have partnerships with rental car agencies so drivers can rent vehicles. Uber also has a leasing program.

    This unwed pregnant Uber driver rented a Nissan Altima. She paid an initial $350 and $215 was deducted from her Uber paycheck every. She drove from October 10 to November 21, had her baby at the end of November, and went back to driving a week after delivery. Six weeks after having her baby, Uber told the Washington Post that she began missing payments four weeks after she started driving. She owed Uber $1400 for the rental and another $600 for damages after her parked car was sideswiped.

    She is also a home health aide, but in no condition to do that work. She lives with her mother, owes $5000 in student loans, and is food stamps. A Go Fund Me drive raised $15,000 for her. The Washington Post was mainly concerned with her lack of maternity leave as if that would solve anything. Baby daddy is broke and not around.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.b8cc0fb8dc7a

    https://www.gofundme.com/support-maya-warren-kortez

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    • Replies: @Father O'Hara
    Perhaps the daddy is away,maybe working construction in Addis Ababa,or laboring on a North Sea oil rig. When he hears of his baby mommas tribulations he will come running,most likely.
    , @dr kill
    You win. I clicked, even tho I knew she was Black.
    , @Ed
    I remember reading this story and was left flabbergasted by how the article made it seem as if her problems were everyone else's. While she herself was blameless.
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  19. @Rod1963
    Uber is a cash furnace

    It's based on exploiting a bunch of fools thinking they're gonna make easy money. It's not different than being a paper delivery boy - the newspaper hires you as a independent contractor(with stipulations and penalties that ensure only illegals take it since their ID is fictitious) and you pay for everything else.

    That's right all the costs are on you now. Perfect scam for a company turning all their workers into independent contractors which absolves them of everything.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc. No disability ins for themselves, etc. So if they get in a wreck - boom!!! BOHICA.

    Those fools buying a new vehicle for Uber are f**king idiots. The insurance they need to carry on themselves and the car will offset most of the profits they make. Debt serf here I come!!!

    You know how much the average Uber driver makes in a month? $364.00!!!

    https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

    Welcome to the 3rd world Silicon Valley style.

    Career instruction video for liberal arts majors, courtesy of our new immigrant overlords:

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Some female friends were holidaying in India, and hired a 'tuk-tuk' autorickshaw whose driver pulled in to drop them off somewhere he shouldn't have parked.

    Over came a police officer who first abused the driver, then slapped him hard across the face twice (in front of his female passengers - how would that feel?) , and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).

    If you ask them how India was, they loved it and can't wait to go back again. I'm sure Whiskey has an explanation.

    , @dr kill
    Nice.
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  20. In February 1984, California magazine profiled a 69-year-old former cab driver it referred to only as “The Fat Man,” but whose actual name was Joe Harrison. Harrison was white, worked nights in San Francsico, and it was his policy to pick up any passenger and take him anywhere he wanted to go. In that way, he was a godsend to decent, hard-working black men who needed a ride to and from sketchy neighborhoods. On the other hand, he was a nightmare to criminals who attempted to rob him. Left-handed, when a passenger aroused his suspicions he drew his revolver and held it surreptitiously across his belly, ready to fire if the passenger pulled a gun on him. In the course of four attempted robberies, he killed two, wounded another, and held one for the police. All black.

    In 1974, the Police Taxi Bureau told Harrison to either stop carrying a gun or stop driving a cab. Harrison refused. His shooting were all fully justified and he argued that the Bureau had no right to demand he allow himself to be victimized, possibly even murdered. The district attorney’s office pressured the city’s cab fleets not to employ Harrison anymore. He went to work as a security guard.

    I imagine some black night watchman trying unsuccessfully to flag down a cab at 3 AM and thinking, “There used to be this fat old white guy who would pick me up. Wonder what ever happened to him?”

    Law enforcement took him off the streets to protect the thugs.

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    • Replies: @Bitfu
    In other words, Harrison was the Uber of Cops. I guess cops don't like havin' their turf tread on anymore than cabbies do...

    As for Harrison and his democratization of policing: He should have developed an app for that.

    We would have quite a battle on our hands: The Establishment Cops vs The Disrupting Techies (who have an app!)

    Finally, we would have an answer the timeless question: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
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  21. Uber is nothing special; Lyft is the most obvous competitor. Thus the ouster of Uber’s CEO is unremarkable vis-a-vis increases in governmental efforts to regulate such corporations out of business. The efforts, however, are well under way and have been for years. Moat have ended in pay-offs to the extortionist governments (the events in Austin and Portland come to mind). The costs being driven up, though, have so far been foisted on drivers.

    Just as with telecommuting, a fine example wherein saved costs are always captured by employers at the expense of employees (when telecommuting is permitted at all), so too with these efficiencies in transport enabled by technology: the savings are captured by capital (whether a douche in an office in San Francisco, or a politician at city hall), and the costs and burdens accrue to the driver and consumer.

    Just as the prosperous decades following the Second World War and the concomitant growth of large middle class in what used to be the U.S.A turned out to have been anomalous hiccough in history, so too will the dramatic freedoms and democracy enjoyed from the Enlightenment (with the concomitant revolutions in America and France, and their progeny…) prove to be an anomalous hiccough in human history as acclerating technology (especially artificial intelligence) realigns things to the previous order of teening hordes of oppressed peasants and a small, entrenched cadre of bastards lording it over everyone else in obscene opulence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon7
    Don't forget what happens after that:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peasant_revolts
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Auto, The NFTA, which runs the Buffalo/Niagara Airport announced that Uber and Lyft would have to pay a $3.50 pick-up/drop off fee at the terminal. So, Lyft is not going to provide service to the airport. The NFTA is one of NYS many powerful "authorities" that regulate our lives without the tedium of passing laws.
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  22. @Autochthon

    He and his husband ....
     
    Am I the only person who, upon encountering nonsense like this stuff, immediately and irreversibly dismiss the writer and the writing, unable to give further serious attention to the piece at hand? Even though, intellectually, I realise "this writer is referring to two mentally ill, perverted men who sodomoise each other as 'husbands' because the deranged culture now commands it" my mind refuses to accept the phrase in the way it would if my cat were to say right now "Pardon me, but have you any Grey Poupon?" I might know my ears had heard the sounds, but the entire affair would be so preposterous and alien to reality I don't think I could bring myself to respond and engage with the situation....

    The speed with which the media/entertainment industrial complex inures the public to newspeak is impressive.

    Read More
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  23. @Daniel H
    The world would have been better served if Glass had stuck with cab driving rather than pursuing his "art".

    Atonal music is like stationary running, dry water, unwritten literature, or flavourless cuisine – it’s just a stupid, nonsensical concept.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kevin Michael Grace
    Philip Glass's music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YF1Q20aexE
    , @Hibernian
    Flavourless cuisine is common.
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  24. The driver who says he’ll turn down ride requests from bad neighborhoods doesn’t know Uber only lets drivers turned down a small percentage of rides.

    As for why Uber is cheaper, it’s because it offloads most of the cost on drivers, who make less than minimum wage after expenses. When drivers figure this out, they leave, hence the company’s high churn rate.

    I drove for Uber for about 6 months a couple of years ago. This was when they were still only taking a 20% cut, and before whatever price cuts they’ve done since. When I did my taxes and itemized all the car washes, gas, maintenance, etc., it worked out that I made about $6 per hour driving for them. It’s not immediately apparent how low the pay is because you get paid weekly, with no deductions for taxes or any benefits (because there aren’t any).

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  25. [E]xpect to see a long battle to load Uber up with the kind of costs that taxicab companies got stuck with…

    Damn straight. You would not believe what political clusterf-ck it was to get Uber and Lyft approved in New York State. And then immediately they wanted to charge additional fees for airport drop-offs to compensate for lost parking revenue. (Airport pick-ups are still the exclusive domain of the government-approved taxi business).

    As much as I detest the graft and obscene costs associated with government-approved taxi monopolies, I don’t know that these “ridesharing” apps are the answer. Seems to me that the drivers work for poverty wages and frankly, I’d be a bit apprehensive about some schmoe off the street coming to drive me around in his personal vehicle.

    Then again, I’m (proudly) so anachronistic that I don’t own a smartphone… and I simply don’t go anywhere that I can’t go in a pickup truck with a .357 under the seat.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    It's been a race-to-the-bottom. When I drove for Uber, your car had to be less than 8 years old. Now I think they doubled it to 16 years. My GF used lift to go the airport last year and the guy's trunk was full of empty beer cans and his car stunk like B.O. The next time she had to travel for work she booked an airport limo service like everyone did in the old days.
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  26. @Autochthon

    He and his husband ....
     
    Am I the only person who, upon encountering nonsense like this stuff, immediately and irreversibly dismiss the writer and the writing, unable to give further serious attention to the piece at hand? Even though, intellectually, I realise "this writer is referring to two mentally ill, perverted men who sodomoise each other as 'husbands' because the deranged culture now commands it" my mind refuses to accept the phrase in the way it would if my cat were to say right now "Pardon me, but have you any Grey Poupon?" I might know my ears had heard the sounds, but the entire affair would be so preposterous and alien to reality I don't think I could bring myself to respond and engage with the situation....

    Believe me, you’re not alone.

    Read More
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  27. MB says: • Website
    @Autochthon

    He and his husband ....
     
    Am I the only person who, upon encountering nonsense like this stuff, immediately and irreversibly dismiss the writer and the writing, unable to give further serious attention to the piece at hand? Even though, intellectually, I realise "this writer is referring to two mentally ill, perverted men who sodomoise each other as 'husbands' because the deranged culture now commands it" my mind refuses to accept the phrase in the way it would if my cat were to say right now "Pardon me, but have you any Grey Poupon?" I might know my ears had heard the sounds, but the entire affair would be so preposterous and alien to reality I don't think I could bring myself to respond and engage with the situation....

    ” He and his husband ….

    Am I the only person . . .”

    Correction.
    You are an unperson for thinking such nasty thoughts to begin with and then even worse, talking about them in public on the innurnet.
    Now, knock it off or we will charge you with a hate crime.

    And you can forget about the Fifth, because you’ve already confessed.

    IOW the money quote from an interview at FrontPage of Thomas Dalyrymple:

    FP: You make the shrewd observation of how political correctness engenders evil because of “the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” Can you talk about this a bit?

    Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

    Read More
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  28. was just forced out

    I hear Eric Holder is free — he just finished fixing AirBnB.

    Read More
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  29. The guys I know who make money on Uber have a few qualities but mostly:

    - Use it as a supplement to their main income
    - Can afford a decent “beater” car
    - Live next/near a major user nexus like Mill Ave near ASU or Scottsdale
    - Able to take off during the high traffic time to work those places

    Read More
    • Agree: Triumph104
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  30. @Autochthon
    Uber is nothing special; Lyft is the most obvous competitor. Thus the ouster of Uber's CEO is unremarkable vis-a-vis increases in governmental efforts to regulate such corporations out of business. The efforts, however, are well under way and have been for years. Moat have ended in pay-offs to the extortionist governments (the events in Austin and Portland come to mind). The costs being driven up, though, have so far been foisted on drivers.

    Just as with telecommuting, a fine example wherein saved costs are always captured by employers at the expense of employees (when telecommuting is permitted at all), so too with these efficiencies in transport enabled by technology: the savings are captured by capital (whether a douche in an office in San Francisco, or a politician at city hall), and the costs and burdens accrue to the driver and consumer.

    Just as the prosperous decades following the Second World War and the concomitant growth of large middle class in what used to be the U.S.A turned out to have been anomalous hiccough in history, so too will the dramatic freedoms and democracy enjoyed from the Enlightenment (with the concomitant revolutions in America and France, and their progeny...) prove to be an anomalous hiccough in human history as acclerating technology (especially artificial intelligence) realigns things to the previous order of teening hordes of oppressed peasants and a small, entrenched cadre of bastards lording it over everyone else in obscene opulence.

    Don’t forget what happens after that:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peasant_revolts

    Read More
    • Replies: @Escher
    The power disparity between the state (establishment) and the populace (peasantry) has never been this large. A rebellion wouldn't stand a chance.
    , @Autochthon
    I well remember: People like Lenin, Castro, Napoleon, Cromwell, and Lincoln arise like so many pigs on a communist farm to ensure the new boss is the same as the old boss – more commonly still, the freedom-loving rebels meet with a bloody clampdown for their efforts (the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive, of course: see Lincoln, supra).
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  31. @Daniel H
    The world would have been better served if Glass had stuck with cab driving rather than pursuing his "art".

    I’ll disagree here. I don’t know all his work, but just a few days ago I relistened to his Itaipu (which I haven’t listened to in years) and was struck by how much I still like it.

    Read More
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  32. Despite the seeming plausibility of this “HBD-informed analysis,” I don’t think it’s correct…

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber’s economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its “high-tech image” as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn’t like, thereby giving themselves an edge over “boring” old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren’t just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you’re able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn’t like, you’ll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber’s long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Opinionator
    Interesting. Thanks.
    , @anon
    Long term, Uber with at least one other competitor should be able better balance supply and demand. If it needs higher fares longer term, that's OK also.

    In Chicago, medallions cost as much as $350,000 before the price crashed. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/04/13/chicago-taxi-medallion-prices-plunge/.


    “We don’t have a future anymore,” says Ellias Lopera, 54, a veteran Chicago cab driver. “No matter how many hours you work a day you don’t make money. You just pay the bills.”

    Lopera placed a big bet on his future when he paid $40,000 in 1994 for his first medallion. Six years later, he paid $70,000 for a second.
     

    At peak prices, no cab driver had a chance at owning his own cab.

    Even if you want a regulated type of system, I would use the uber model and add regulation to that as needed. But what would enhance safety? I would be ok with minimum price per mile.

    , @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.
    , @Jon

    hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.
     
    But how can you maintain an overpriced monopoly in a business with few barriers to entry? If Uber raises its prices 3x what they are now, Lyft will charge 2.9x, and some chunk of the Uber and Lyft drivers will go indie and charge 2.8x , etc. Uber is an app, nothing more. It's bound to fail.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Related:
    https://twitter.com/WallStCynic/status/877886932356812804
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible
     
    At least Pinsen learned from his experience, no need to be cruel. :(
    , @Hdhdh
    Just the same as Kalanick is scamming drivers, Bezos is scamming sellers, and Musk is scamming environmentalists and using government subsidies. These tech oligarchs have had access to cheap capital because of low interest rates too. None of these firms did as well prior to the Financial Crisis when interest rates were higher, and when investors had better risk-free return alternatives. Investors starved for returns keep propping these yet unprofitable business models up. Uber, Tesla and even Amazon will hit a wall if rates ever normalize, unable to fund their never-ending schemes as easily.

    https://www.equities.com/news/how-low-interest-rates-have-propped-up-amazon-and-tesla

    , @Anon
    It seems these two items contradict each other:

    "Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip."

    How the heck do you lose money as a company if you're offloading nearly all your business operating expenses on your employee-drivers? What money is there to 'lose' if drivers are paying for all the expenses out of their pay from customers?

    The only operating expenses left at Uber that I can see are some office expenses at its headquarters and paying the salaries of the bigwigs. I suspect those billions were disappearing because part of the 'business expenses' being charged on the bottom line are super-massive salaries for the Uber bigwigs, which are coming straight out of the original investors' startup capital. Uber looks like a company set up with the main purpose of fleecing those investors for their billions, and everything else is secondary.

    , @res
    Thanks for that link, Ron!

    One comment there caught my attention:

    Lynn S.
    December 1, 2016 at 12:52 am
    As someone who has driven for Uber part-time for almost a year, I can say that it very quickly became very apparent to me that Uber is using human drivers to generate data for mining: What are peak times for riders? Where do rides originate and end? What routes are drivers taking to get passengers from A to B?

    Uber will use all this data for their driverless fleet (for things like locating the car corrals, and scheduling maintenance times for their driverless vehicles), because they’ve also made it very apparent they will be dumping the humans as fast as they can.
     
    What do people here think about that idea?
    , @Taco

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.
     
    Being a tech company with a decentralized business model might let you circumvent or ignore local traffic and business regulations, but if this was truly their business model... do they really think that "hey, don't worry about it, we're a tech company" is going to get them around anti-trust law?
    , @utu
    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    Many Uber drivers are not aware of the car depreciation concept. They are actually eating up their own car value thinking it's their income. Minimum 15 cents per mile should be put aside towards the purchase of the next car.
    , @Lot
    The HBD analysis that I see is simpler:

    1. All Uber users have a smart phone and bank account in good standing, dropping out the lower 30% of the socioeconomic spectrum who are typically money losing customers for middle to high end service companies.

    2. drivers and riders both rate each other after each ride. problematic people are automatically weeded out. (One of the funnier moments in Girls is where Hannah begs a friend for a ride because she was "banned from Uber because of my low ratings.")

    3. Because Uber means you are less likely to deal with problematic drivers/riders, drivers will take less pay than taxi drivers while riders will pay more.

    Right now Uber charges much less than taxis outside of peak time surge pricing. But I'd pay the same or more. Your average obnoxious taxi driver who jabbers in Arabic on his cell phone the whole ride, or plays ugly French rap music, would not last a week working for Uber.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I think their longterm viability was really predicated on the development of self-driving cars. But Google and a few major car manufacturers are working on that too.
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  33. The expectation now from cab drivers is that you will give them a tip par with a waiter or waitress. I suspect that the economics is much like what has happened with restaurants where the drivers eek out a minimum wage for driving, on a good day, and then they see what they can pick up on from their fares. The problem is why do you tip, unless driven by guilt, for someone who is just doing what he is supposed to?

    The last cab I hailed before finally using Uber was in Las Vegas. It was about $40 which seemed expensive but when you pay more than just a few piasters, especially when it is on the company dime or a write off, you use a credit card. You swipe your card and the next thing the monitor in the back seat asks for is a tip. Check if you want to pay 10%, 20% (which is what I normally tip for great service in a restaurant), etc. That means I ended up paying $45-50 for what Uber would have charged $10-20 for. I resented it and still do. Great service is not some illiterate driver doing a stop and jerk ride in car with 400,000 miles on it and 10 air fresheners.

    I don’t begrudge taxi drivers for wanting to make a living. I do sort of resent the foreigners for taking the jobs that would normally be reserved for ex-cons and the disfunctionals that any society has but they have literally priced themselves out of the business. If it gets too bad, they can buy a Hyundai and work for Uber too.

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    • Agree: International Jew
    • Replies: @Bill P
    You don't tip people for doing only what they're supposed to do; you tip for extra service. Do you want your trips to the restaurant or your cab rides to be like a visit to the local DMV? If so, don't tip, and once they recognize you you'll get what you paid for.

    As for your suggestion that driving cabs is the sort of work ex-cons should be doing, do you really want your college-age daughter getting a ride home from a night out with her friends from a guy fresh out of Walla Walla? And you call yourself "Prof."

    There are way more pretentious commenters on iSteve these days than there were ten years ago.
    , @slumber_j
    At least in NYC, cabbies make all their money on tips from what I understand: the "financialization" of the medallion market means that they're not even making minimum wage without tips. So yeah: you should tip 20% for even okay service, because otherwise the hack makes no money.

    When you use a tip-based service, you tip accordingly. Unless you're a jerk, that is.
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  34. I always thought Uber had no hope unless they get real autonomous cars going. The whole ride sharing thing was a way to raise money and get market share/branding while the tech is developed. They are betting the tech comes before they run out of money.

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    • Agree: prole
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  35. anon • Disclaimer says:

    1. You have to have a credit card to use UBER. This alone eliminates a lot of dangerous customers. Now there are various ways to pay other than a credit card, but poor people will generally spend their way out of these ‘solutions’.

    2. No cash is used. Another safety enhancement.

    3. Uber includes insurance. https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance/

    4. Both driver and passenger know the identity of the other. A disincentive to illegal activities.

    Uber also automates the dispatcher function. It really isn’t remotely like the old fashioned gypsy cab. The demand based pricing provides some degree of elasticity to supply.

    The traditional cab system was inconvenient and the public was generally underserved. In cities, Uber competes with parking — given that it is frequently more expensive to park than to pay an Uber fare.

    As far as the drivers? Not the greatest job. But not the worst, either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Prof. Woland
    Like the old story about the blind guy who is being driven around he block a few extra times by the cab driver. With google GPS, that is a lot harder to do. The same for any kind of delivery driver. It is like wearing an ankle bracelet. My favorite are the new parking meters that use credit cards. My guess is that there are a lot few nickles being pilfered these days.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    When I was driving for them, I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don't know, but it's not that high a barrier.

    And Uber's insurance is pretty limited. Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they'll ask you if you're driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.
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  36. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Interesting. Thanks.

    Read More
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  37. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Long term, Uber with at least one other competitor should be able better balance supply and demand. If it needs higher fares longer term, that’s OK also.

    In Chicago, medallions cost as much as $350,000 before the price crashed. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/04/13/chicago-taxi-medallion-prices-plunge/.

    “We don’t have a future anymore,” says Ellias Lopera, 54, a veteran Chicago cab driver. “No matter how many hours you work a day you don’t make money. You just pay the bills.”

    Lopera placed a big bet on his future when he paid $40,000 in 1994 for his first medallion. Six years later, he paid $70,000 for a second.

    At peak prices, no cab driver had a chance at owning his own cab.

    Even if you want a regulated type of system, I would use the uber model and add regulation to that as needed. But what would enhance safety? I would be ok with minimum price per mile.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon

    We don’t have a future anymore,” says Ellias Lopera, 54, a veteran Chicago cab driver. “No matter how many hours you work a day you don’t make money. You just pay the bills.”
     
    This describes ninety-nine per cent of all work, including most of us working in Silly Valley. I'l sure Lopera supports accelerating overpopulation, though.
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  38. @Bill P
    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    That’s because New York was scary as hell in the 1970s.

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  39. @George
    " a legal entitlement to carry passengers for money was worth a lot"

    In a few places like NYC alot of money. In places like Syracuse it was a method of tax collection. In NYC restricting taxis was partly to reduce congestion.

    No, it was an attempt to reduce competition and keep prices up.

    How much is a NYC taxi medallion worth these days?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-is-a-nyc-taxi-medallion-worth-these-days/

    “The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March. Last year, medallion sales ranged from $325,000 to $750,000. What has happened since 2013? The arrival of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which are now a competitive force on the city’s streets.”

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    • Replies: @Daniel H
    >>The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March.

    That is a HUGE crash. I can recall when NYC taxi medallions were selling for over $1 million. Some poor suckers got hurt, but most likely they only had 5% down. They must do what Wall Street always does, just walk away from the debt.

    I drove a NYC yellow cab in the early 80s. Back then medallions were over $200k. So over 35 years this asset has seen no appreciation. Feel sorry for the individual owner, but for the cruel fleet owners who employed me, fuck'em. I hope that they got caught holding hundreds of these rapidly diminishing assets.
    , @Pachyderm Pachyderma
    Who says the Cracka ain't so smart? He with his Jew in tow, sold to, the gullible and ignorant Paki, the medallion for a cool million bucks on which the latter will pay for the rest of his working life usurious interest and fees. But comes now the best part of the scam. Again, with his Jew in tow, he has managed to bring down the price of the medallion with Uber as the latest weapon, to a point where the Paki is left on the hook for the huuuge difference between the value of the asset and what he owes to the finance company. Thus, all that he has toiled in the intervening years is for naught and he will be indebted for life... so much for the American Dream!
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  40. @Dr. X

    [E]xpect to see a long battle to load Uber up with the kind of costs that taxicab companies got stuck with...
     
    Damn straight. You would not believe what political clusterf-ck it was to get Uber and Lyft approved in New York State. And then immediately they wanted to charge additional fees for airport drop-offs to compensate for lost parking revenue. (Airport pick-ups are still the exclusive domain of the government-approved taxi business).

    As much as I detest the graft and obscene costs associated with government-approved taxi monopolies, I don't know that these "ridesharing" apps are the answer. Seems to me that the drivers work for poverty wages and frankly, I'd be a bit apprehensive about some schmoe off the street coming to drive me around in his personal vehicle.

    Then again, I'm (proudly) so anachronistic that I don't own a smartphone... and I simply don't go anywhere that I can't go in a pickup truck with a .357 under the seat.

    It’s been a race-to-the-bottom. When I drove for Uber, your car had to be less than 8 years old. Now I think they doubled it to 16 years. My GF used lift to go the airport last year and the guy’s trunk was full of empty beer cans and his car stunk like B.O. The next time she had to travel for work she booked an airport limo service like everyone did in the old days.

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    • Replies: @Altai

    My GF used lift to go the airport last year and the guy’s trunk was full of empty beer cans and his car stunk like B.O.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyfkqHknihI&t=1m52s
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  41. @anon
    1. You have to have a credit card to use UBER. This alone eliminates a lot of dangerous customers. Now there are various ways to pay other than a credit card, but poor people will generally spend their way out of these 'solutions'.

    2. No cash is used. Another safety enhancement.

    3. Uber includes insurance. https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance/

    4. Both driver and passenger know the identity of the other. A disincentive to illegal activities.

    Uber also automates the dispatcher function. It really isn't remotely like the old fashioned gypsy cab. The demand based pricing provides some degree of elasticity to supply.

    The traditional cab system was inconvenient and the public was generally underserved. In cities, Uber competes with parking -- given that it is frequently more expensive to park than to pay an Uber fare.

    As far as the drivers? Not the greatest job. But not the worst, either.

    Like the old story about the blind guy who is being driven around he block a few extra times by the cab driver. With google GPS, that is a lot harder to do. The same for any kind of delivery driver. It is like wearing an ankle bracelet. My favorite are the new parking meters that use credit cards. My guess is that there are a lot few nickles being pilfered these days.

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  42. @Prof. Woland
    The expectation now from cab drivers is that you will give them a tip par with a waiter or waitress. I suspect that the economics is much like what has happened with restaurants where the drivers eek out a minimum wage for driving, on a good day, and then they see what they can pick up on from their fares. The problem is why do you tip, unless driven by guilt, for someone who is just doing what he is supposed to?

    The last cab I hailed before finally using Uber was in Las Vegas. It was about $40 which seemed expensive but when you pay more than just a few piasters, especially when it is on the company dime or a write off, you use a credit card. You swipe your card and the next thing the monitor in the back seat asks for is a tip. Check if you want to pay 10%, 20% (which is what I normally tip for great service in a restaurant), etc. That means I ended up paying $45-50 for what Uber would have charged $10-20 for. I resented it and still do. Great service is not some illiterate driver doing a stop and jerk ride in car with 400,000 miles on it and 10 air fresheners.

    I don't begrudge taxi drivers for wanting to make a living. I do sort of resent the foreigners for taking the jobs that would normally be reserved for ex-cons and the disfunctionals that any society has but they have literally priced themselves out of the business. If it gets too bad, they can buy a Hyundai and work for Uber too.

    You don’t tip people for doing only what they’re supposed to do; you tip for extra service. Do you want your trips to the restaurant or your cab rides to be like a visit to the local DMV? If so, don’t tip, and once they recognize you you’ll get what you paid for.

    As for your suggestion that driving cabs is the sort of work ex-cons should be doing, do you really want your college-age daughter getting a ride home from a night out with her friends from a guy fresh out of Walla Walla? And you call yourself “Prof.”

    There are way more pretentious commenters on iSteve these days than there were ten years ago.

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    • Replies: @Emblematic
    If name-dropping is considered pretentious, does the same apply to year-dropping?
    , @Prof. Woland
    Thank you for making my point. Who tips a cabby 20%? It is like the parking attendant. Getting you to your destination without getting in a crash is "just doing their job", not great service. I am not cheap either. I am in sales and I truly understand good service which is why I probably am more sensitive to this. A Guilt trip is not good service, it is shitty service.

    Whenever I travel for vacation, I purchase X number of dollars in small change just for tipping, etc. But if I'm on business, I generally use a credit card because it leaves a paper trail for taxes. That means rather than handing the driver a few ones or a five, I have to use their swiper in back seat. The way the screens are set up is hit you up for 20 - 25% and if you don't, you have to fumble through the process. That is not a bug, it is a feature. I would rather just take Uber now.
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  43. I’ve never used Uber, but I have a friend in the Navy that drives for Uber on some off-days. He does it to pay for extras, like taking the kids to Disney World. He tends to drive around the nicer areas and drives a very fuel efficient car.

    My guess is that Uber has the following going for it:

    (1) A lot of people just want to earn a little spending money and not make a career of it.*
    (2) Like Steve Sailer says, they’re avoiding the bad areas.
    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    The first two reasons are pretty good, we just need to solve the the third issue.

    *That reminds me of an unbelievably funny scene in the tv show Taxi where the Judd Hirsch character jokes (and laments) that he’s the only cab driver (the others are actors, boxers, models etc.).

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    I think a lot of Uber's profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.

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  44. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let’s say they give it a name like “Schlong’s”, and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an “independent” contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO – the big schlong so to speak – as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

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    • Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    "You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business."
    It's been done with grilled cheese sambo's, so why not?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-09/bubble-meet-25-million-grilled-cheese-truck?page=5
    , @Pericles
    Have you tried Soylent?

    Eating isn't easy.

    It's hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but everyone feels like they could be eating better. If you’ve ever wasted time and energy trying to decide what to eat for lunch, or have been too busy to eat a proper meal - Soylent is for you.
    Each Soylent product contains a complete blend of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients: everything the body needs to thrive. We know your life is busy enough already, but we're here to make things a little less complicated.

     

    https://www.soylent.com/

    (I hope there's a surprise at the end.)
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Bill, there is a guy from WNY who pilots a small pontoon boat offshore at Anna Marie Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He has a grill and some coolers on board, cruises just past the beach and turns to when a customer hails him. My friend knows the guy from here and says he does $100k a season.
    , @Wally
    Hilarious, still laughing.
    , @Autochthon
    You should send a résumé to Mike Judge; this is comedy gold!
    , @Olorin
    My most recent e-mail from Harris Seeds included something about a thrilling new innovation in hot dog cookery.

    "Say goodbye to boring hot dogs forever!"

    https://www.harrisseeds.com/products/41603-slotdog-hot-dog-cutter

    Combine that with the trade name "Schlong's." Deliver them via Amazon Drone.

    Anyway, your idea reminded me of Die Hipster, which had an item awhile ago about repackaging Slim Jims as Slim James in a wooden box or some such.

    Die Hipster is where I go when my Philly punk needs stronger hooch than the Gentlemanly hereabouts.

    https://twitter.com/HipsterBeatings
    , @Alec Leamas

    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let’s say they give it a name like “Schlong’s”, and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an “independent” contractor equals cash+freedom.
     
    I assume this is tongue in cheek, but I think the reason that tech firms would stay clear of food products and services is that there is strict liability all along the chain of production/service for defective food products that cause injury. Then think about entrusting the financial health of Schlongs to every stoned hipster with an iPhone.

    Not even Silicon Valley wants to tangle with the Plaintiff's Bar, whom you must assume is looking with baited breath at those Billions of venture capital dollars and scheming to take a lion's share for itself.
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  45. @Jack D
    Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don't get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.

    Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don’t get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.

    Maybe the solution to high crime rates is to disband the police department and contract Uber to drive people around.

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  46. @Bill P
    You don't tip people for doing only what they're supposed to do; you tip for extra service. Do you want your trips to the restaurant or your cab rides to be like a visit to the local DMV? If so, don't tip, and once they recognize you you'll get what you paid for.

    As for your suggestion that driving cabs is the sort of work ex-cons should be doing, do you really want your college-age daughter getting a ride home from a night out with her friends from a guy fresh out of Walla Walla? And you call yourself "Prof."

    There are way more pretentious commenters on iSteve these days than there were ten years ago.

    If name-dropping is considered pretentious, does the same apply to year-dropping?

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    • Replies: @Bill P
    If I really wanted to year drop I would have gone back farther than ten years -- I've been reading isteve since the late 90s. Actually, I first discovered Steve when I was in my early 20s back in '97, and have been a faithful reader ever since.

    But I am quite serious about the change in tone. It's only relatively recently that people who consider themselves better than others - as opposed to those who appreciate the cutting-edge opinion and insights - have begun to appropriate comment threads.

    But I should probably shut up about it, because this is just the result of respectability, and Steve totally deserves to make a good living from his efforts.
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  47. @Bill P
    You don't tip people for doing only what they're supposed to do; you tip for extra service. Do you want your trips to the restaurant or your cab rides to be like a visit to the local DMV? If so, don't tip, and once they recognize you you'll get what you paid for.

    As for your suggestion that driving cabs is the sort of work ex-cons should be doing, do you really want your college-age daughter getting a ride home from a night out with her friends from a guy fresh out of Walla Walla? And you call yourself "Prof."

    There are way more pretentious commenters on iSteve these days than there were ten years ago.

    Thank you for making my point. Who tips a cabby 20%? It is like the parking attendant. Getting you to your destination without getting in a crash is “just doing their job”, not great service. I am not cheap either. I am in sales and I truly understand good service which is why I probably am more sensitive to this. A Guilt trip is not good service, it is shitty service.

    Whenever I travel for vacation, I purchase X number of dollars in small change just for tipping, etc. But if I’m on business, I generally use a credit card because it leaves a paper trail for taxes. That means rather than handing the driver a few ones or a five, I have to use their swiper in back seat. The way the screens are set up is hit you up for 20 – 25% and if you don’t, you have to fumble through the process. That is not a bug, it is a feature. I would rather just take Uber now.

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  48. Jon says:

    The reason for Uber’s vast success

    Uber is not a vastly successful company. They are currently subsidizing about half of each fare. The strategy is apparently to bankrupt the competition by dumping their service on the market at way below profitable rates, and then eventually raising prices. A few problems, though (all related to barriers to entry):
    1. None of the drivers are employees, they can jump ship to another company or go independent at any time;
    2. None of the cars are owned by Uber, they have no physical capital;
    3. Their app, something that can be easily replicated, is their only proprietary asset (we already have Lyft, as well as apps that compare Uber, Lyft, and local taxi services so you can pick the cheapest / most convenient); and,
    4. Every time they enter a new city, they challenge the medallion system, one of the few barriers to entry into the business.
    Uber will eventually fail. How could it not?

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    • Replies: @eD
    So if I am reading these comments correctly, what Uber provides is an app that makes it easier for gypsy cab drivers to find customers. It does seem like an investment scam.

    Having used them in Latin America, I am actually a fan of illegal/ quasi illegal vans and gypsy cabs because the licensed taxi monopolies did get too greedy. I just don't see what Silicon Valley brings to the table in addressing this.
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  49. @Wally
    No, it was an attempt to reduce competition and keep prices up.

    How much is a NYC taxi medallion worth these days?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-is-a-nyc-taxi-medallion-worth-these-days/

    "The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March. Last year, medallion sales ranged from $325,000 to $750,000. What has happened since 2013? The arrival of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which are now a competitive force on the city’s streets."

    >>The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March.

    That is a HUGE crash. I can recall when NYC taxi medallions were selling for over $1 million. Some poor suckers got hurt, but most likely they only had 5% down. They must do what Wall Street always does, just walk away from the debt.

    I drove a NYC yellow cab in the early 80s. Back then medallions were over $200k. So over 35 years this asset has seen no appreciation. Feel sorry for the individual owner, but for the cruel fleet owners who employed me, fuck’em. I hope that they got caught holding hundreds of these rapidly diminishing assets.

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  50. Jon says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    But how can you maintain an overpriced monopoly in a business with few barriers to entry? If Uber raises its prices 3x what they are now, Lyft will charge 2.9x, and some chunk of the Uber and Lyft drivers will go indie and charge 2.8x , etc. Uber is an app, nothing more. It’s bound to fail.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    But how can you maintain an overpriced monopoly in a business with few barriers to entry? If Uber raises its prices 3x what they are now, Lyft will charge 2.9x, and some chunk of the Uber and Lyft drivers will go indie and charge 2.8x , etc. Uber is an app, nothing more. It’s bound to fail.
     
    When you have 40 million riders with your app installed and 160,000 drivers (if this is accurate), that's a huge moat.

    Let's say you had the wherewithal to build or buy a facsimile of their tech. Now what do you do? How do you get drivers? How do you get riders? How does anyone find out you exist?
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  51. Uber is still loosing money.

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  52. @Triumph104
    Not all drivers own a vehicle or a suitable one. Uber and Lyft have partnerships with rental car agencies so drivers can rent vehicles. Uber also has a leasing program.

    This unwed pregnant Uber driver rented a Nissan Altima. She paid an initial $350 and $215 was deducted from her Uber paycheck every. She drove from October 10 to November 21, had her baby at the end of November, and went back to driving a week after delivery. Six weeks after having her baby, Uber told the Washington Post that she began missing payments four weeks after she started driving. She owed Uber $1400 for the rental and another $600 for damages after her parked car was sideswiped.

    She is also a home health aide, but in no condition to do that work. She lives with her mother, owes $5000 in student loans, and is food stamps. A Go Fund Me drive raised $15,000 for her. The Washington Post was mainly concerned with her lack of maternity leave as if that would solve anything. Baby daddy is broke and not around.

    https://youtu.be/sC9IkSkGcns

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.b8cc0fb8dc7a

    https://www.gofundme.com/support-maya-warren-kortez

    Perhaps the daddy is away,maybe working construction in Addis Ababa,or laboring on a North Sea oil rig. When he hears of his baby mommas tribulations he will come running,most likely.

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  53. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    “You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business.”
    It’s been done with grilled cheese sambo’s, so why not?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-09/bubble-meet-25-million-grilled-cheese-truck?page=5

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pericles
    And don't forget that juicer scam! Toujours l'audace ...

    http://sfist.com/2017/04/21/juicero_ceo_begs_customers_not_to_s.php
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  54. @Bill P
    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    Or just watch Taxi Driver.

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  55. @Dave Pinsen
    It's been a race-to-the-bottom. When I drove for Uber, your car had to be less than 8 years old. Now I think they doubled it to 16 years. My GF used lift to go the airport last year and the guy's trunk was full of empty beer cans and his car stunk like B.O. The next time she had to travel for work she booked an airport limo service like everyone did in the old days.

    My GF used lift to go the airport last year and the guy’s trunk was full of empty beer cans and his car stunk like B.O.

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    • LOL: Dave Pinsen
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  56. @Judah Benjamin Hur
    I've never used Uber, but I have a friend in the Navy that drives for Uber on some off-days. He does it to pay for extras, like taking the kids to Disney World. He tends to drive around the nicer areas and drives a very fuel efficient car.

    My guess is that Uber has the following going for it:

    (1) A lot of people just want to earn a little spending money and not make a career of it.*
    (2) Like Steve Sailer says, they're avoiding the bad areas.
    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    The first two reasons are pretty good, we just need to solve the the third issue.


    *That reminds me of an unbelievably funny scene in the tv show Taxi where the Judd Hirsch character jokes (and laments) that he's the only cab driver (the others are actors, boxers, models etc.).

    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    I think a lot of Uber’s profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    I think a lot of Uber’s profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.
     
    Uber is losing money, period. $2.6b in 2016, on $6.5b in revenue. It costs more to provide this service than they're charging. That's why Uber is cheaper than cabs. The moment investors balk at shoveling more money in, Uber will need to raise prices by perhaps 1/2 or more.
    , @res
    I suspect you are correct, but I wonder how much of this is perception or market inefficiency/abuse. Has anyone done a good analysis of the economic difference of a dedicated Uber car and a multipurposed car? When I think about it I see:
    - Gas - no difference
    - Insurance - this is a big "opportunity", but I suspect if the insurance is properly categorized (i.e. the insurance company knows) there is not much difference
    - Depreciation - Here is where I think you are most right. Depreciation by year tends to be greater than depreciation by mile. Perhaps the best use of Uber driving is to subsidize the purchase of an otherwise unaffordable new car (e.g. by making depreciation deductible)?
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  57. @Autochthon
    Atonal music is like stationary running, dry water, unwritten literature, or flavourless cuisine – it's just a stupid, nonsensical concept.

    Philip Glass’s music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

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    • Replies: @empty
    One could perhaps say that the minimal music was a novel approach to get out of the dead end of European serious/art music, an American born form, like abstract expressionism in painting.


    It might offend certain tastes but it doesn't grate the ears, because of it's tonality and consonance (vs atonality and dissonance) ...

    It is a fact that the American minimalism has been massively influential outside the box of academic serious music. Musical devices favored by Philip Glass are now inbuilt features of synthesizes and electronic keyboards (arpeggiators) etc etc ... sophisticated popular musicians are well aware of Philip Glass, Steve Reich etc...


    this being Sailer ... recently I found out that there was an African-American Gay composer working at same time as established White/Jewish minimalists -- there are two theories why he was marginalized until recently 1) institutional racism 2) the guy was very erratic and confrontational person, ...
    , @mp
    Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site...

    When I first heard Glass' so-called "music" I thought, I bet he's Jewish. How else could you explain it? I just looked, and sure enough...

    , @Autochthon
    I suppose I may have more accurately written "aharmonic."

    Someone will be along any moment to tell one or another (or both) of us we are autistic because we understand the nuances of something better than him and we care that language be used accurately.
    , @James Kabala
    This still kind of frightens me even today:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tam1XY0HGjY

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  58. @Jon

    hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.
     
    But how can you maintain an overpriced monopoly in a business with few barriers to entry? If Uber raises its prices 3x what they are now, Lyft will charge 2.9x, and some chunk of the Uber and Lyft drivers will go indie and charge 2.8x , etc. Uber is an app, nothing more. It's bound to fail.

    But how can you maintain an overpriced monopoly in a business with few barriers to entry? If Uber raises its prices 3x what they are now, Lyft will charge 2.9x, and some chunk of the Uber and Lyft drivers will go indie and charge 2.8x , etc. Uber is an app, nothing more. It’s bound to fail.

    When you have 40 million riders with your app installed and 160,000 drivers (if this is accurate), that’s a huge moat.

    Let’s say you had the wherewithal to build or buy a facsimile of their tech. Now what do you do? How do you get drivers? How do you get riders? How does anyone find out you exist?

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  59. @anon
    1. You have to have a credit card to use UBER. This alone eliminates a lot of dangerous customers. Now there are various ways to pay other than a credit card, but poor people will generally spend their way out of these 'solutions'.

    2. No cash is used. Another safety enhancement.

    3. Uber includes insurance. https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance/

    4. Both driver and passenger know the identity of the other. A disincentive to illegal activities.

    Uber also automates the dispatcher function. It really isn't remotely like the old fashioned gypsy cab. The demand based pricing provides some degree of elasticity to supply.

    The traditional cab system was inconvenient and the public was generally underserved. In cities, Uber competes with parking -- given that it is frequently more expensive to park than to pay an Uber fare.

    As far as the drivers? Not the greatest job. But not the worst, either.

    When I was driving for them, I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don’t know, but it’s not that high a barrier.

    And Uber’s insurance is pretty limited. Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they’ll ask you if you’re driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.

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    • Replies: @ScarletNumber

    Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they’ll ask you if you’re driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.
     
    I recently bought a new car and shopped around a bit for insurance. Before I was able to get a quote I was asked by every company if I was transporting passengers for hire.
    , @anon

    I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don’t know, but it’s not that high a barrier.
     
    . It started out as a reasonable barrier -- when it was only a regular credit card. But the riders from these places -- did they seem reasonably ok? Even if the average thug may be from this sort of area, the average resident in even the poorest places aren't criminals. However, I may be behind the times.

    I think insurance companies have come to terms with Uber. GEICO advertises for drivers. -- but I'm sure at a price. However, there is clearly a cost that is transferred to the driver. Now a typical car can last 200,000 miles with maintenance -- so it isn't as hard on a vehicle as it used to be. I also wonder how much tax is paid on these earnings. It is a small business and you can deduct expenses.

    I'm aware of a guy that is good at multi tasking that does Uber, Lyft, and deliveries at the same time. I think he does pretty well in a city, but its hard work.
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  60. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Related:

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    • Replies: @Barnard
    Aren't a lot of these people using this as part time or supplementary income though? I don't think there are that many people trying to make a living off Airbnb or Etsy.
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  61. @Steve Sailer
    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    I think a lot of Uber's profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.

    I think a lot of Uber’s profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.

    Uber is losing money, period. $2.6b in 2016, on $6.5b in revenue. It costs more to provide this service than they’re charging. That’s why Uber is cheaper than cabs. The moment investors balk at shoveling more money in, Uber will need to raise prices by perhaps 1/2 or more.

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  62. Uber’s business model is weird. Or well, has gotten weird.

    The initial premise (as understood it, at least) was creating a secure and non-asymmetric (in terms of pricing—the driver and rider are assured of a fair price) market for ride sharing. Going somewhere during high traffic? Make a few extra bucks by driving someone else who happens to be going where are you are or somewhere along the way. In principle, it’s an excellent idea. In practice, they messed up.

    I honestly don’t think that they planned on becoming a taxi company by having a majority of their drivers do it full-time. But, when they smelled the money in it, they decided to cash in on that instead. Now, they’re going to go the way of traditional cab companies, and will die once they do. Another ride sharing app will take its place, because let’s face it, no one likes traditional cab companies anymore.

    Once there’s an app that solves the issue of full-time drivers doing this for a living, Uber is dead.

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    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A friend of mine drives from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica every morning for work, so he picks up an Uber passenger, which he finds very informative for conversation.
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  63. @Dumbo
    This so-called "shared economy" really isn't.

    Those are not really "tech companies" but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Uber can be practical and cheaper than cabs but I hear they don't pay so well their drivers.

    On the other hand, I think there are more white drivers, as for some reason taxi drivers in most Western cities are African or Pakis (I wonder why? Just as nail saloons are exclusively Asian).

    AirBNB is also disappointing when you have problems with a host or a tenant, basically they disappear, their customer service sucks and you have to sort out the situation yourself.

    Not a fan of this "new economy", although over-regulation is also a problem.

    Anyway, I think anyone should be able to carry passengers for a charge, I don't really see what is the problem.

    Many years before Uber, in many Latin American countries some cities had "illegal vans" which actually were in many cases better than the "legal" transportation offered (buses and taxis). But they were forbidden because, well, I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.

    Black cab drivers in London are still overwhelmingly white natives, usually your increasingly rarely spotted cockneys. To become a licensed black cab driver you have to pass the intellectually demanding knowledge test which takes a well to prepare for by memorising and driving the streets of London. Minicab firms seem to be dominated by Pakistanis and Afghans whilst Uber and illegal cabs, less of problem these days due to a crackdown and uber, seem to come from all over the MENA, South Asia and Africa. There has been rape issues with these drivers. On the rare occasion I can’t walk it or take public transport I will only use a black cab, very expensive in London.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I spent four days in London in 1980. I got stopped six times by passer-bys asking for directions. The first time I said I had just arrived from Los Angeles so I didn't know where anything was, but the next five times I realized I was a rare pedestrian carrying a 4' by 3' map of London, so I was better positioned than natives to explain London's complex streets.
    , @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.
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  64. @Daniel H
    The world would have been better served if Glass had stuck with cab driving rather than pursuing his "art".

    He has plenty of the usual kind of music, too, including soundtracks.

    I really like much of his work. I just do not listen to the rest.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    In the early 1980s, Philip Glass represented a new form of accessible American art music. You've seen the tricks pioneered in the 1983 Glass-scored movie Koyaanisqatsi in a million TV commercials since then, but they were quite stunning 34 years ago.

    Glass and movie composer John Williams were commissioned to compose the ceremonial music for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as a sign that Americans were doing good stuff in music.

    Glass's music would make a good score for a Jacques Tati film about M. Hulot.
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  65. @LondonBob
    Black cab drivers in London are still overwhelmingly white natives, usually your increasingly rarely spotted cockneys. To become a licensed black cab driver you have to pass the intellectually demanding knowledge test which takes a well to prepare for by memorising and driving the streets of London. Minicab firms seem to be dominated by Pakistanis and Afghans whilst Uber and illegal cabs, less of problem these days due to a crackdown and uber, seem to come from all over the MENA, South Asia and Africa. There has been rape issues with these drivers. On the rare occasion I can't walk it or take public transport I will only use a black cab, very expensive in London.

    I spent four days in London in 1980. I got stopped six times by passer-bys asking for directions. The first time I said I had just arrived from Los Angeles so I didn’t know where anything was, but the next five times I realized I was a rare pedestrian carrying a 4′ by 3′ map of London, so I was better positioned than natives to explain London’s complex streets.

    Read More
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  66. @al-Gharaniq
    Uber's business model is weird. Or well, has gotten weird.

    The initial premise (as understood it, at least) was creating a secure and non-asymmetric (in terms of pricing—the driver and rider are assured of a fair price) market for ride sharing. Going somewhere during high traffic? Make a few extra bucks by driving someone else who happens to be going where are you are or somewhere along the way. In principle, it's an excellent idea. In practice, they messed up.

    I honestly don't think that they planned on becoming a taxi company by having a majority of their drivers do it full-time. But, when they smelled the money in it, they decided to cash in on that instead. Now, they're going to go the way of traditional cab companies, and will die once they do. Another ride sharing app will take its place, because let's face it, no one likes traditional cab companies anymore.

    Once there's an app that solves the issue of full-time drivers doing this for a living, Uber is dead.

    A friend of mine drives from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica every morning for work, so he picks up an Uber passenger, which he finds very informative for conversation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, we used to call that car pooling .
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I think that's facilitated by a relatively new feature, where you can tell Uber where you're heading, and get ride requests going in the same direction. When I was doing it, they didn't have that, which was annoying. E.g., late one Saturday night, decided to accept a ride request from Hoboken, which is about 20 minutes south of where I live. I figured it would be the first of several short rides in that town, from the train station from Manhattan to people's apartments, and there'd probably be surge pricing as people got out of bars.

    And bear in mind that -- at least back then -- you had no idea where someone was heading until you picked them up. So I picked up a woman who happened to be heading 40 minutes further south. I didn't want to give anyone else a ride by her, because they might have been heading even further south. So, I end up driving an hour home unpaid.

    Glad to hear they've apparently fixed that.
    , @Lurker
    This is where Uber could really work for the drivers - taking a passenger while doing a trip you were going to do anyway.

    And. . .

    Different passengers doing the same route or the same person?

    If it was the same person regularly they could just make it a cash transaction and cut Uber out completely.

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  67. @Buzz Mohawk
    Career instruction video for liberal arts majors, courtesy of our new immigrant overlords:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjZ9pfObVYs

    Some female friends were holidaying in India, and hired a ‘tuk-tuk’ autorickshaw whose driver pulled in to drop them off somewhere he shouldn’t have parked.

    Over came a police officer who first abused the driver, then slapped him hard across the face twice (in front of his female passengers – how would that feel?) , and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).

    If you ask them how India was, they loved it and can’t wait to go back again. I’m sure Whiskey has an explanation.

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    • Replies: @Abe

    and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).
     
    So for the offense of blocking an area of the street he shouldn't have for a small fraction of time, the officer rectified the situation by making sure the rickshaw driver would be blocking it for a far longer period of time? "Brilliant"!
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  68. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible

    At least Pinsen learned from his experience, no need to be cruel. :(

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  69. NYC, late sixties …

    Taxi driver: That’s $2.95, including the luggage.

    Coogan (Clint Eastwood … R.I.P., MAN): Tell me, how may stores are there named Bloomingdales in this town?

    Taxi driver: One, why?

    Coogan: We passed it twice.

    Taxi driver: It’s still $2.95, including the luggage.

    Coogan: Yeah, well there’s $3.00, including the tip.

    from “Coogan’s Bluff” (1968)

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Eastwood is not dead.
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  70. @Bill P
    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    1970′s Manhattan was fun as hell for a Bucks County farm boy. Less than two hours from Buckingham to the Port Authority. I think it was 8 bucks one way. I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t live thru the 70′s.

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    • Replies: @Flip
    Walking through Times Square and seeing all the peep shows in the late 1970s was an amazing experience.
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  71. @Triumph104
    Not all drivers own a vehicle or a suitable one. Uber and Lyft have partnerships with rental car agencies so drivers can rent vehicles. Uber also has a leasing program.

    This unwed pregnant Uber driver rented a Nissan Altima. She paid an initial $350 and $215 was deducted from her Uber paycheck every. She drove from October 10 to November 21, had her baby at the end of November, and went back to driving a week after delivery. Six weeks after having her baby, Uber told the Washington Post that she began missing payments four weeks after she started driving. She owed Uber $1400 for the rental and another $600 for damages after her parked car was sideswiped.

    She is also a home health aide, but in no condition to do that work. She lives with her mother, owes $5000 in student loans, and is food stamps. A Go Fund Me drive raised $15,000 for her. The Washington Post was mainly concerned with her lack of maternity leave as if that would solve anything. Baby daddy is broke and not around.

    https://youtu.be/sC9IkSkGcns

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.b8cc0fb8dc7a

    https://www.gofundme.com/support-maya-warren-kortez

    You win. I clicked, even tho I knew she was Black.

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  72. @Buzz Mohawk
    Career instruction video for liberal arts majors, courtesy of our new immigrant overlords:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjZ9pfObVYs

    Nice.

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  73. @Achmed E. Newman

    Uber just decided that all those laws don’t apply to itself because it was a tech company.
     
    Absolutely, Steve. That is spot on! I was talking to a friend who does quite a bit of Uber driving about this very thing recently.

    Is it any new creative thing to say "oh, we're gonna have a lot of individuals drive their own cars as taxis"? Big deal, and it could have been done by anyone with an old computer and a bunch of phone lines long ago. Yeah, the smart phone world made it easier for tracking, payments, feedback and that, but Uber is no big brilliant (not in the British sense!) idea.

    The difference, as you wrote, is that anyone else without string-pulling people to get them out of the regulations, would have been shut down the first week. This whole uber deal is another example of crony-capitalism, which idiots all over the web mistake as capitalism. Get some big guys to get the normal government rules out of the way, and you can do what millions of people would have done long before your tech-savvy ass came along.

    Way, way back, after a couple of us arrived for a summer job at the Greyhound bus station, an old black man drove up in an old car, old even for then - some beat-up Malibu or whatever - and offered us a ride (3 miles or so) to the office where we needed to go for $4 total or something. We had called a taxi company, and it was going to be around $10 (not just a ways back, but we were students, see?) We took him up on it, and at that office, people said "oh, that was an illegal taxi guy ... watch out in the future, ...etc." I thought, "what's illegal about giving people a ride for some money, that's competition", knowing nothing about regulations - I had my libertarian mindset while some of your commenters were still in diapers.

    “people said “oh, that was an illegal taxi guy … watch out in the future, …etc.” I thought, “what’s illegal about giving people a ride for some money, that’s competition””

    In some places in the world you’ll be taken further, and charged more, than you really want to go or pay, and they won’t be happy unless you do pay.

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  74. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    Have you tried Soylent?

    Eating isn’t easy.

    It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but everyone feels like they could be eating better. If you’ve ever wasted time and energy trying to decide what to eat for lunch, or have been too busy to eat a proper meal – Soylent is for you.
    Each Soylent product contains a complete blend of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients: everything the body needs to thrive. We know your life is busy enough already, but we’re here to make things a little less complicated.

    https://www.soylent.com/

    (I hope there’s a surprise at the end.)

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    • Replies: @Stebbing Heuer
    What colours does it come in?
    , @SFG
    Naaah, it's just morbid nerd humor. There would be all kinds of safety issues with using actual human cadavers as a protein source...remember kuru?
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  75. @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    "You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business."
    It's been done with grilled cheese sambo's, so why not?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-09/bubble-meet-25-million-grilled-cheese-truck?page=5

    And don’t forget that juicer scam! Toujours l’audace …

    http://sfist.com/2017/04/21/juicero_ceo_begs_customers_not_to_s.php

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  76. Wolf Richter’s blog “Wolf Street’ had a post the other day “Is Amazon Eating UPS’ Lunch”

    http://wolfstreet.com/2017/06/21/amazon-package-delivery-replaces-ups-usps/

    Wherein he notes Amazon is using Uber style delivery of orders. UPS isn’t some local cab company so I’ve got to believe that very soon things are going to heat up around the ‘gig and app’ economy as the established players demand the so called ‘tech’ companies play by the same rules.

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  77. @Triumph104
    Not all drivers own a vehicle or a suitable one. Uber and Lyft have partnerships with rental car agencies so drivers can rent vehicles. Uber also has a leasing program.

    This unwed pregnant Uber driver rented a Nissan Altima. She paid an initial $350 and $215 was deducted from her Uber paycheck every. She drove from October 10 to November 21, had her baby at the end of November, and went back to driving a week after delivery. Six weeks after having her baby, Uber told the Washington Post that she began missing payments four weeks after she started driving. She owed Uber $1400 for the rental and another $600 for damages after her parked car was sideswiped.

    She is also a home health aide, but in no condition to do that work. She lives with her mother, owes $5000 in student loans, and is food stamps. A Go Fund Me drive raised $15,000 for her. The Washington Post was mainly concerned with her lack of maternity leave as if that would solve anything. Baby daddy is broke and not around.

    https://youtu.be/sC9IkSkGcns

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-had-a-newborn-and-no-money-signing-up-for-uber-drove-her-into-debt/2017/04/07/b5ee9510-05d1-11e7-b9fa-ed727b644a0b_story.html?utm_term=.b8cc0fb8dc7a

    https://www.gofundme.com/support-maya-warren-kortez

    I remember reading this story and was left flabbergasted by how the article made it seem as if her problems were everyone else’s. While she herself was blameless.

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  78. Ed says:
    @Bill P
    Philip Glass gives a good account of driving a cab in NYC in the 1970s so he could focus on his art in his spare time. Sounds scary as hell.

    My dad drove a cab in DC for 40 years. He was robbed twice, during one robbery he was stuffed in the trunk and left there for hours.

    He’s from Ghana and would only pick up black men if they wore suits, otherwise he’d pass them by. He used to tell me that he’d never pick me up if he saw me on the street hailing a cab. Evidently it’s a standing rule for most DC cabbies. Needless to say they rarely if ever venture to Anacostia.

    When DC sought to force through anti-discriminatory measures the cabbies protested. Think the measure still passed though.

    Anyway dad finally quit because of…..Uber.

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    • Replies: @wrd9
    Most cabbies in DC or NYC are minorities/immigrants and they don't pick up blacks. Some because they are supposedly bad tippers. Yet, liberals blame whites for blacks not being able to hail a cab.
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  79. @Rod1963
    Uber is a cash furnace

    It's based on exploiting a bunch of fools thinking they're gonna make easy money. It's not different than being a paper delivery boy - the newspaper hires you as a independent contractor(with stipulations and penalties that ensure only illegals take it since their ID is fictitious) and you pay for everything else.

    That's right all the costs are on you now. Perfect scam for a company turning all their workers into independent contractors which absolves them of everything.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc. No disability ins for themselves, etc. So if they get in a wreck - boom!!! BOHICA.

    Those fools buying a new vehicle for Uber are f**king idiots. The insurance they need to carry on themselves and the car will offset most of the profits they make. Debt serf here I come!!!

    You know how much the average Uber driver makes in a month? $364.00!!!

    https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

    Welcome to the 3rd world Silicon Valley style.

    Uber, the company, doesn’t make any money. It’s investors are so focused on the latest SJW outrage that they are missing this fundamental fact. It’s merely burning through the investors’ capital.

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  80. @Anon7
    Don't forget what happens after that:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peasant_revolts

    The power disparity between the state (establishment) and the populace (peasantry) has never been this large. A rebellion wouldn’t stand a chance.

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    • Replies: @ANon
    I don't know. The organs that exert legitimate violence for the state are not monolithically loyal to it. I mean, Napoleon was a commissioned officer, it didn't stop him from turning to and supporting the French Revolution. Same with Washington, and most other rebel leaders.
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  81. @LondonBob
    Black cab drivers in London are still overwhelmingly white natives, usually your increasingly rarely spotted cockneys. To become a licensed black cab driver you have to pass the intellectually demanding knowledge test which takes a well to prepare for by memorising and driving the streets of London. Minicab firms seem to be dominated by Pakistanis and Afghans whilst Uber and illegal cabs, less of problem these days due to a crackdown and uber, seem to come from all over the MENA, South Asia and Africa. There has been rape issues with these drivers. On the rare occasion I can't walk it or take public transport I will only use a black cab, very expensive in London.

    You’re worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call “the Knowledge”. Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that’s probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    No but for some reason I am concerned they have assaulted defenceless women.

    Correct, the Knowledge does work as a form of IQ test to ensure a better sort of person drives you around rather than someone just off the plane from Lahore. GPS doesn't work well in London though, the rare occasions I have used Uber, booked by friends I was with, they have invariably taken the wrong and slower direct route. A local cabby will be able to, off the top of his head, go the quicker back route. Also using the postcode for location can be quite wrong with the number of small streets clustered in confined areas.
    , @Johann Ricke

    If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that’s probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.
     
    The Knowledge may have been overrated. Even before GPS, I certainly preferred the quiet Beemer I rode in and its skilful, efficient but not reckless South Asian driver to the traditional noisy, sedately-paced London (although capacious) taxicab and its white English driver.
    , @Hippopotamusdrome

    You’re worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

     

    22 minicab rapes a week in London
    ... another wave of sex crimes involves predatory Muslim minicab drivers who are raping female passengers.
    ... Freedom of Information requests seeking accurate data on minicab-related sexual assaults are routinely denied
    ... a ... report produced by the London Metropolitan Police Service estimates that on average there are a total of 1,125 sexual assaults, including rapes, each year involving minicab drivers in just London

     

    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    I suspect there's more to it than that because otherwise, as you note, we just pull out our Google maps and presto, we're all black cab drivers. So navigating London is probably more complicated than GPS tech on its own can surmount.

    OTOH, this may be an artificial barrier to entry. But it's nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head.

    This seems broadly applicable. Remember the police candidate who got rejected because his IQ tested out at 120? I'd think cities would welcome candidates with higher levels of impulse control and low time-preference. Maybe the city bosses are worried about being able to dole out jobs to after the smart guy's buddies show up and start acing all the exams and crowding out the bosses' patronage networks. I don't know.
    , @Lurker
    I was told by a (non-black) cab driver that GPS is a bit problematic in the most built up areas, I asked as he had one on dash but wasn't using it.

    The thing about the Knowledge is it's not just a mental map. It's also the knowledge of how to get from A to B most effectively. A satnav just blindly follows a route.
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  82. @Dave Pinsen
    When I was driving for them, I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don't know, but it's not that high a barrier.

    And Uber's insurance is pretty limited. Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they'll ask you if you're driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.

    Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they’ll ask you if you’re driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.

    I recently bought a new car and shopped around a bit for insurance. Before I was able to get a quote I was asked by every company if I was transporting passengers for hire.

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  83. @empty
    NYC, late sixties ...

    Taxi driver: That's $2.95, including the luggage.

    Coogan (Clint Eastwood ... R.I.P., MAN): Tell me, how may stores are there named Bloomingdales in this town?

    Taxi driver: One, why?

    Coogan: We passed it twice.

    Taxi driver: It's still $2.95, including the luggage.

    Coogan: Yeah, well there's $3.00, including the tip.

     

    from "Coogan's Bluff" (1968)

    Eastwood is not dead.

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    • Replies: @empty
    well, apparently I got fooled by the Fake News ... what kind of sick asshole comes up with shit like that?
    , @Faraday's Bobcat

    Eastwood is not dead.
     
    That's what they said about Abe Vigoda.
    , @Hibernian
    Was there a Twainesque "greatly exaggerated" report of his passing lately? I seem to remember one, and waited for tributes from various sources, which didn't seem to materialize as I expected.
    , @Johann Ricke

    Eastwood is not dead.
     
    While that's true, Abe Vigoda (better-known as Tessio and Phil Fish in his showbiz roles) finally kicked the bucket in 2016.
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  84. @Kevin Michael Grace
    Philip Glass's music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YF1Q20aexE

    One could perhaps say that the minimal music was a novel approach to get out of the dead end of European serious/art music, an American born form, like abstract expressionism in painting.

    It might offend certain tastes but it doesn’t grate the ears, because of it’s tonality and consonance (vs atonality and dissonance) …

    It is a fact that the American minimalism has been massively influential outside the box of academic serious music. Musical devices favored by Philip Glass are now inbuilt features of synthesizes and electronic keyboards (arpeggiators) etc etc … sophisticated popular musicians are well aware of Philip Glass, Steve Reich etc…

    this being Sailer … recently I found out that there was an African-American Gay composer working at same time as established White/Jewish minimalists — there are two theories why he was marginalized until recently 1) institutional racism 2) the guy was very erratic and confrontational person, …

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  85. @Macumazahn
    "With Uber I will decline it if they send me to a bad neighborhood."
    Really, you can do that? Doesn't Uber have the same sort of "community" rules as Airbnb, forcing its drivers to pick up any godforsaken creature that demands a ride through the app?
    If not, I'm sure that "feature" is coming soon.

    On the app a picture of the person requesting the ride pops up so the driver can identify them. If a 60 year old black lady pops up you are going to give her a ride since she is unlikely to rob you. If it is a twenty year old black male, then it is time to decline the ride and go to McDonalds.

    This is the deal – this really helps normal black people. Uber will pick you up in the hood if you do not look like a thug. Pre Uber, in Chicago, cabs stayed downtown and in a few neighborhoods that were rich and densely populated. I lived in a rather prosperous but unhip neighborhood – St. Ben’s- which had a lot of families so few barflies that needed cabs. I did a lot of walking. Then I moved to an even more unhip neighborhood during the Uber transition. I can get an Uber now in less than five minutes. Black people that do not live in the real ghetto say they have no problem.

    Also you need a credit card to use Uber. Criminals tend to be too dysfunctional for that.

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  86. @Kevin Michael Grace
    Philip Glass's music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YF1Q20aexE

    Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site…

    When I first heard Glass’ so-called “music” I thought, I bet he’s Jewish. How else could you explain it? I just looked, and sure enough…

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  87. @Jack D
    Eastwood is not dead.

    well, apparently I got fooled by the Fake News … what kind of sick asshole comes up with shit like that?

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Hey, Empty, was whoever told you that Italian, with a New Jersey accent? Maybe you missed the last part is all:

    "Clint Eastwood! He's dead to me!
     
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  88. mp says:

    Uber is losing money, period. It costs more to provide this service than they’re charging. The moment investors balk at shoveling more money in, Uber will need to raise prices…

    Maybe Uber can work a deal out with Tesla, and share each other’s losses. That way their inevitable crash will only be half as hard. Right?

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  89. @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    No but for some reason I am concerned they have assaulted defenceless women.

    Correct, the Knowledge does work as a form of IQ test to ensure a better sort of person drives you around rather than someone just off the plane from Lahore. GPS doesn’t work well in London though, the rare occasions I have used Uber, booked by friends I was with, they have invariably taken the wrong and slower direct route. A local cabby will be able to, off the top of his head, go the quicker back route. Also using the postcode for location can be quite wrong with the number of small streets clustered in confined areas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chuck

    No but for some reason I am concerned they have assaulted defenceless women.
     
    Lying whores:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10160029/Cab-driver-falsely-accused-of-rape-saved-by-his-phone-app.html
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  90. Most Uber drivers are probably ignorant about their Total Cost of Operation. That said, the taxi business in upstate and Western NY locales was (and is) a corrupt cesspool. Its demise is not a bad thing.

    One NY gem: the reimbursement cabbies got for ferrying Medicaid patients to and from appointments.

    Also, the average Uber driver’s ignorance regarding TCO is present in many who sign 60 month+ car notes.

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    • Replies: @a Newsreader

    One NY gem: the reimbursement cabbies got for ferrying Medicaid patients to and from appointments.
     
    It's much cheaper for the state than letting the Medicaid patients abuse the ambulance system.
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  91. @Steve Sailer
    (3) Many drivers are not accounting for all the costs so are working for far less than they realize.

    I think a lot of Uber's profits (such as they are) come from the exploiting the difference between the marginal cost of driving a car you already own and the total cost of owning a car.

    I suspect you are correct, but I wonder how much of this is perception or market inefficiency/abuse. Has anyone done a good analysis of the economic difference of a dedicated Uber car and a multipurposed car? When I think about it I see:
    - Gas – no difference
    - Insurance – this is a big “opportunity”, but I suspect if the insurance is properly categorized (i.e. the insurance company knows) there is not much difference
    - Depreciation – Here is where I think you are most right. Depreciation by year tends to be greater than depreciation by mile. Perhaps the best use of Uber driving is to subsidize the purchase of an otherwise unaffordable new car (e.g. by making depreciation deductible)?

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    • Replies: @res
    And I forgot maintenance. There is annual type maintenance, but the big bills tend to go with mileage and repairs so I suspect the dedicated/multipurpose cost difference is less than one might think at first. Warranties are another example where I wonder how the real (i.e. dealer aware of use) economics work compared to what people get away with.
    , @Prof. Woland
    The ability to automatically log miles is extremely useful. I own a business and am very scrupulous about deductions. The only one area I guess at are my miles. I simply cannot and do not keep a log. It costs me because I under count my miles. The irony is that if I were ever audited (again) I they would probably owe me.
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  92. @Harry Baldwin
    In February 1984, California magazine profiled a 69-year-old former cab driver it referred to only as "The Fat Man," but whose actual name was Joe Harrison. Harrison was white, worked nights in San Francsico, and it was his policy to pick up any passenger and take him anywhere he wanted to go. In that way, he was a godsend to decent, hard-working black men who needed a ride to and from sketchy neighborhoods. On the other hand, he was a nightmare to criminals who attempted to rob him. Left-handed, when a passenger aroused his suspicions he drew his revolver and held it surreptitiously across his belly, ready to fire if the passenger pulled a gun on him. In the course of four attempted robberies, he killed two, wounded another, and held one for the police. All black.

    In 1974, the Police Taxi Bureau told Harrison to either stop carrying a gun or stop driving a cab. Harrison refused. His shooting were all fully justified and he argued that the Bureau had no right to demand he allow himself to be victimized, possibly even murdered. The district attorney's office pressured the city's cab fleets not to employ Harrison anymore. He went to work as a security guard.

    I imagine some black night watchman trying unsuccessfully to flag down a cab at 3 AM and thinking, "There used to be this fat old white guy who would pick me up. Wonder what ever happened to him?"

    Law enforcement took him off the streets to protect the thugs.

    In other words, Harrison was the Uber of Cops. I guess cops don’t like havin’ their turf tread on anymore than cabbies do…

    As for Harrison and his democratization of policing: He should have developed an app for that.

    We would have quite a battle on our hands: The Establishment Cops vs The Disrupting Techies (who have an app!)

    Finally, we would have an answer the timeless question: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

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  93. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Just the same as Kalanick is scamming drivers, Bezos is scamming sellers, and Musk is scamming environmentalists and using government subsidies. These tech oligarchs have had access to cheap capital because of low interest rates too. None of these firms did as well prior to the Financial Crisis when interest rates were higher, and when investors had better risk-free return alternatives. Investors starved for returns keep propping these yet unprofitable business models up. Uber, Tesla and even Amazon will hit a wall if rates ever normalize, unable to fund their never-ending schemes as easily.

    https://www.equities.com/news/how-low-interest-rates-have-propped-up-amazon-and-tesla

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    That sounds like what one would read at Zerohedge, and I have no reason to disagree with that. It's .com bubble 2.0, but only the big guys are allowed this time. No pets.com and dogpile, Lycos, and Altavista this go around.
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  94. @res
    I suspect you are correct, but I wonder how much of this is perception or market inefficiency/abuse. Has anyone done a good analysis of the economic difference of a dedicated Uber car and a multipurposed car? When I think about it I see:
    - Gas - no difference
    - Insurance - this is a big "opportunity", but I suspect if the insurance is properly categorized (i.e. the insurance company knows) there is not much difference
    - Depreciation - Here is where I think you are most right. Depreciation by year tends to be greater than depreciation by mile. Perhaps the best use of Uber driving is to subsidize the purchase of an otherwise unaffordable new car (e.g. by making depreciation deductible)?

    And I forgot maintenance. There is annual type maintenance, but the big bills tend to go with mileage and repairs so I suspect the dedicated/multipurpose cost difference is less than one might think at first. Warranties are another example where I wonder how the real (i.e. dealer aware of use) economics work compared to what people get away with.

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  95. I also suspect that Uber drivers are underestimating their vehicle depreciation costs. They get current income at the expense of having to fix/replace their car sooner in the future. Consuming capital (“eating the seed corn”).

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  96. @Rod1963
    Uber is a cash furnace

    It's based on exploiting a bunch of fools thinking they're gonna make easy money. It's not different than being a paper delivery boy - the newspaper hires you as a independent contractor(with stipulations and penalties that ensure only illegals take it since their ID is fictitious) and you pay for everything else.

    That's right all the costs are on you now. Perfect scam for a company turning all their workers into independent contractors which absolves them of everything.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc. No disability ins for themselves, etc. So if they get in a wreck - boom!!! BOHICA.

    Those fools buying a new vehicle for Uber are f**king idiots. The insurance they need to carry on themselves and the car will offset most of the profits they make. Debt serf here I come!!!

    You know how much the average Uber driver makes in a month? $364.00!!!

    https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

    Welcome to the 3rd world Silicon Valley style.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc.

    I wonder if an insurance company will pay at all, if the driver is carrying a noncommercial policy. In fact, one attraction of working for Uber is that you “save money” on insurance. I.e. insurance fraud.

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    • Replies: @Hibernian
    My auto insurance company recently mailed me a rider expressly forbidding me to drive for Uber or Lyft.
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  97. @Pericles
    Have you tried Soylent?

    Eating isn't easy.

    It's hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but everyone feels like they could be eating better. If you’ve ever wasted time and energy trying to decide what to eat for lunch, or have been too busy to eat a proper meal - Soylent is for you.
    Each Soylent product contains a complete blend of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients: everything the body needs to thrive. We know your life is busy enough already, but we're here to make things a little less complicated.

     

    https://www.soylent.com/

    (I hope there's a surprise at the end.)

    What colours does it come in?

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    I haven't tried it myself, but I would assume it's a classy, modern light brown, or close to that. Nu-male Mu-Latte, we might call it.
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  98. @Macumazahn
    "With Uber I will decline it if they send me to a bad neighborhood."
    Really, you can do that? Doesn't Uber have the same sort of "community" rules as Airbnb, forcing its drivers to pick up any godforsaken creature that demands a ride through the app?
    If not, I'm sure that "feature" is coming soon.

    I’m pretty sure that this was structured to give drivers plausible deniability.

    I remember that the focus when Uber was new was on picking up passengers through the app so drivers couldn’t apply the diversity test on the potential customer until it was too late.

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  99. Abe says: • Website
    @YetAnotherAnon
    Some female friends were holidaying in India, and hired a 'tuk-tuk' autorickshaw whose driver pulled in to drop them off somewhere he shouldn't have parked.

    Over came a police officer who first abused the driver, then slapped him hard across the face twice (in front of his female passengers - how would that feel?) , and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).

    If you ask them how India was, they loved it and can't wait to go back again. I'm sure Whiskey has an explanation.

    and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).

    So for the offense of blocking an area of the street he shouldn’t have for a small fraction of time, the officer rectified the situation by making sure the rickshaw driver would be blocking it for a far longer period of time? “Brilliant”!

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    • Replies: @Whiskey
    It was a dominance display. Pure and simple. That's the future of the West, importing the sexual dynamics of the Third World. Because tingles. Why do you think women love love love Game of Thrones? The icky murder-rape scenes are dominance displays. Women are HARD WIRED to respond to this; its why all sane societies limit female sexuality to prevent a race to the bottom in dominance.

    As a White man you were offended by this retelling. You don't like the humiliation because you rationally figure it could and would descend upon you eventually. Women love this; first they like humiliation and submitting, in preparation or during sex; and secondly find men dominating and abusing other men arousing. AGain, hard wired.

    There is no end to the ways in which women are the natural and eternal enemy of White men; simply because the two groups have hostile aims; the first the scene described above (because abuse and humiliation is arousing) and the second avoiding said humiliation and abuse.
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  100. All of the gig economy is a scam.

    The point is that there are a lot of under-employed or unemployed white people out there because of affirmative action, or its secondary consequence, which is minorities favoring each other in hiring and promotion.

    So a lucky few end up working at Google, Walmart, or having their own gig, but the rest are at there trying to make ends meet with odd jobs and selling stuff on eBay.

    Uber saw a resource and determined to exploit it, but once they got into people wanting to do this as a singular job instead of as a part-time gig, they had to compensate and are finding out that this business model does not work well.

    If you are a white guy, earning too little but with spare time, and you already have a car, Uber works great for occasional income top-ups. Or at least used to. Kalanick just got forced out for participating in corporate espionage, so expect some shakeups.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    ... once they got into people wanting to do this as a singular job instead of as a part-time gig, they had to compensate and are finding out that this business model does not work well.
     
    See, I don't get this part, and I've read it in previous comments too. I understand Uber is losing money, but why does it matter how much each employee contractor driver drives? Uber take its 25% off of the customers' fares, whether it's from one guy driving 40 hours, or 4 guys driving 10 hours.

    Uber has some minor fixed costs associated with the drivers, like checking out the car (via electronic means, not in person), setting up accounts and that - probably pretty low, as they put all the onus of getting set up on the driver. Even so, this would give them ever-so-slightly more money for fewer drivers driving the same total hours.

    It won't hurt my feelings if someone here can answer my question by showing me I'm wrong.

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  101. @Kevin Michael Grace
    Philip Glass's music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YF1Q20aexE

    I suppose I may have more accurately written “aharmonic.”

    Someone will be along any moment to tell one or another (or both) of us we are autistic because we understand the nuances of something better than him and we care that language be used accurately.

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  102. There will be room for a ‘next Uber’ when Uber gets saddled with all those regs.

    Should be called Mensch and donate a nominal percentage of profits to pro-Israeli causes. Any criticism of their CEO or attempt to regulate them is anti-Semitic.

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  103. @Random Dude on the Internet
    The Circle of Life for Silicon Valley:

    - Dork who lives in Silicon Valley comes up with an idea
    - Dork gets ungodly amounts of funding from venture capitalists
    - Dork hires talented programmers, who are almost always men, specifically White and Asian men
    - Dork makes billions by skirting laws that apply to other established competitors
    - Dork wants to make more billions so he starts flooding his firm with H1B visas
    - Dork gets called out for not being diverse/inclusive enough
    - Dork begins flooding his firm with diversity hires
    - Dork quits the company, gets shoved out, or gets bought out by another large tech firm
    - Dork travels the world praising the virtues of diversity while his company gets destroyed due to it
    - Dork spends the rest of his life pondering seeking higher office
    - Dork's firm shuts down or gets swallowed up entirely, ceasing to exist

    Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in zero generations.

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  104. @res
    I suspect you are correct, but I wonder how much of this is perception or market inefficiency/abuse. Has anyone done a good analysis of the economic difference of a dedicated Uber car and a multipurposed car? When I think about it I see:
    - Gas - no difference
    - Insurance - this is a big "opportunity", but I suspect if the insurance is properly categorized (i.e. the insurance company knows) there is not much difference
    - Depreciation - Here is where I think you are most right. Depreciation by year tends to be greater than depreciation by mile. Perhaps the best use of Uber driving is to subsidize the purchase of an otherwise unaffordable new car (e.g. by making depreciation deductible)?

    The ability to automatically log miles is extremely useful. I own a business and am very scrupulous about deductions. The only one area I guess at are my miles. I simply cannot and do not keep a log. It costs me because I under count my miles. The irony is that if I were ever audited (again) I they would probably owe me.

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  105. @Pericles
    Have you tried Soylent?

    Eating isn't easy.

    It's hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but everyone feels like they could be eating better. If you’ve ever wasted time and energy trying to decide what to eat for lunch, or have been too busy to eat a proper meal - Soylent is for you.
    Each Soylent product contains a complete blend of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients: everything the body needs to thrive. We know your life is busy enough already, but we're here to make things a little less complicated.

     

    https://www.soylent.com/

    (I hope there's a surprise at the end.)

    Naaah, it’s just morbid nerd humor. There would be all kinds of safety issues with using actual human cadavers as a protein source…remember kuru?

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    "But your honor ... We're a tech company!"
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  106. @Anon7
    Don't forget what happens after that:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peasant_revolts

    I well remember: People like Lenin, Castro, Napoleon, Cromwell, and Lincoln arise like so many pigs on a communist farm to ensure the new boss is the same as the old boss – more commonly still, the freedom-loving rebels meet with a bloody clampdown for their efforts (the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive, of course: see Lincoln, supra).

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  107. @Peripatetic commenter
    Well, surely, if they appoint Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg as their new CEO everything will be OK and Uber's value will just keep going up and up.

    Oh, and install a child-minding center in every Uber vehicle for the mothers who want to drive!

    I have a statistician intern working on assessing my theory on short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs. I will share the results here. Seems like a source of alpha no one has approached.

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    • Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    "short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs".
    https://qz.com/566977/companies-with-more-women-directors-generate-a-36-higher-return-on-equity/
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  108. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    It seems these two items contradict each other:

    “Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip.”

    How the heck do you lose money as a company if you’re offloading nearly all your business operating expenses on your employee-drivers? What money is there to ‘lose’ if drivers are paying for all the expenses out of their pay from customers?

    The only operating expenses left at Uber that I can see are some office expenses at its headquarters and paying the salaries of the bigwigs. I suspect those billions were disappearing because part of the ‘business expenses’ being charged on the bottom line are super-massive salaries for the Uber bigwigs, which are coming straight out of the original investors’ startup capital. Uber looks like a company set up with the main purpose of fleecing those investors for their billions, and everything else is secondary.

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    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    How the heck do you lose money as a company if you’re offloading nearly all your business operating expenses on your employee-drivers? What money is there to ‘lose’ if drivers are paying for all the expenses out of their pay from customers?

    The only operating expenses left at Uber that I can see are some office expenses at its headquarters and paying the salaries of the bigwigs.
     
    Well, Uber did pay $700M to buy the company of that top Google engineer who supposedly stole all of Google's self-driving car technical data...
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  109. @Jack D
    Eastwood is not dead.

    Eastwood is not dead.

    That’s what they said about Abe Vigoda.

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  110. @Jack D
    Driving a taxi is statistically more dangerous than being a cop, and you don't get legal immunity to kill your passengers if they make any suspicious moves.

    In fact this is true. Being a taxi driver in a major US city is particularly dangerous–far more dangerous than police work.

    And many taxi drivers lost their lives because of PC and the insistence by the great and the good that one should not fear black people–even the very vulnerable like taxi drivers.

    Shame on Giuliani for siding with the fool Danny Glover and forcing honest people to die for the myth that black people are no more dangerous than anyone else.

    Liberals are always willing to let others die for the sake of preserving their egalitarian myths.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Taxi driving is much safer in NYC than it used to be. I believe in 1990-91 about 75 NYC cabbies were murdered over about two years. The cabdrivers used to have pro-law and order demonstrations up Park Avenue.
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  111. @Autochthon
    Atonal music is like stationary running, dry water, unwritten literature, or flavourless cuisine – it's just a stupid, nonsensical concept.

    Flavourless cuisine is common.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Flavourless food is no more cuisine than the babbling of DeAndre Way is song.
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  112. @Random Dude on the Internet
    The Circle of Life for Silicon Valley:

    - Dork who lives in Silicon Valley comes up with an idea
    - Dork gets ungodly amounts of funding from venture capitalists
    - Dork hires talented programmers, who are almost always men, specifically White and Asian men
    - Dork makes billions by skirting laws that apply to other established competitors
    - Dork wants to make more billions so he starts flooding his firm with H1B visas
    - Dork gets called out for not being diverse/inclusive enough
    - Dork begins flooding his firm with diversity hires
    - Dork quits the company, gets shoved out, or gets bought out by another large tech firm
    - Dork travels the world praising the virtues of diversity while his company gets destroyed due to it
    - Dork spends the rest of his life pondering seeking higher office
    - Dork's firm shuts down or gets swallowed up entirely, ceasing to exist

    And usually, the Dork in question is Jewish… Did you forget to add that?

    Read More
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  113. res says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    Thanks for that link, Ron!

    One comment there caught my attention:

    Lynn S.
    December 1, 2016 at 12:52 am
    As someone who has driven for Uber part-time for almost a year, I can say that it very quickly became very apparent to me that Uber is using human drivers to generate data for mining: What are peak times for riders? Where do rides originate and end? What routes are drivers taking to get passengers from A to B?

    Uber will use all this data for their driverless fleet (for things like locating the car corrals, and scheduling maintenance times for their driverless vehicles), because they’ve also made it very apparent they will be dumping the humans as fast as they can.

    What do people here think about that idea?

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    Probably true, because why not?
    , @Jack D
    Hmm, interesting. People are wondering what uber could do to stop hemorrhaging $. If they could cut their labor cost to $0, that would be a big step toward profitability.

    OTOH, driverless technology remains tantalizingly out of reach - it's ALMOST ready but not quite. It works 99% of the time but there are still situations where it gets confused. There was a recent Tesla crash where the driver was using the Tesla "autopilot" and not paying any attention to the road (they warn you not to do this). A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn't see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake. (BTW - I see this more and more - drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don't have right of way. I suppose this works MOST of the time and saves you time at stop signs, but it seems to me that it's a pretty risky strategy)


    If your computer gets confused, you reboot and it's no big deal. If your driverless car gets confused, people die.

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  114. @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that’s probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    The Knowledge may have been overrated. Even before GPS, I certainly preferred the quiet Beemer I rode in and its skilful, efficient but not reckless South Asian driver to the traditional noisy, sedately-paced London (although capacious) taxicab and its white English driver.

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  115. Maybe I’m an outlier, but price has never entered my mind in terms of using Uber/Lyft (I generally use Lyft). It’s all about convenience and I don’t really care if it’s cheaper than a cab or the same or even more. I like just stepping out of the car without having to fumble for cash (getting stuck with the “sorry I don’t have change” scam) or futzing with the credit card swiper. I like that they all have GPSs, which are more common now in cabs but you still get cabbies who don’t know where the hell they are going. Why should I spend my ride having to give the driver directions? I like not having to step off the curb and hail a cab. I like being able to follow the route and have a readily available estimate of arrival time. I like not having to explain where I’m going.

    With all of this, I would still use Lyft over cabs even if it cost more.

    As a business model and for drivers, it’s pretty awful. For the customer, it’s a fantastic service. I really hope they manage to make it work, somehow.

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  116. @Jack D
    Eastwood is not dead.

    Was there a Twainesque “greatly exaggerated” report of his passing lately? I seem to remember one, and waited for tributes from various sources, which didn’t seem to materialize as I expected.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    Yes, there was some kind of fake news site.

    Of course, nowadays, they are all fake news sites - NYtimes.com, washingtonpost.com, etc. Just yesterday I learned that Putin personally ordered Trump to be elected and the CIA's spies who sit at Putin's elbow heard him give the order. Obama was told and did nothing. Come to think of it, I believe the last sentence.
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  117. @International Jew

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc.
     
    I wonder if an insurance company will pay at all, if the driver is carrying a noncommercial policy. In fact, one attraction of working for Uber is that you "save money" on insurance. I.e. insurance fraud.

    My auto insurance company recently mailed me a rider expressly forbidding me to drive for Uber or Lyft.

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  118. @SFG
    Naaah, it's just morbid nerd humor. There would be all kinds of safety issues with using actual human cadavers as a protein source...remember kuru?

    “But your honor … We’re a tech company!”

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  119. I’ve told every Uber driver that I’ve had that they don’t charge enough. When I took a cab in Colorado it was ~$110, the driver didn’t speak English (Nigerian?) and the cab-van looked like it was a month out from being relegated to hauling straw. The same drive from an English speaking Uber driver in their later model car was ~$40.

    I don’t know if Uber knows how bad cabs are, maybe they’re not as nasty in San Fran? Uber/Lyft could double the price and it’s still a deal, and even a tripling of the price for their premium service is still way competitive.

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  120. @res
    Thanks for that link, Ron!

    One comment there caught my attention:

    Lynn S.
    December 1, 2016 at 12:52 am
    As someone who has driven for Uber part-time for almost a year, I can say that it very quickly became very apparent to me that Uber is using human drivers to generate data for mining: What are peak times for riders? Where do rides originate and end? What routes are drivers taking to get passengers from A to B?

    Uber will use all this data for their driverless fleet (for things like locating the car corrals, and scheduling maintenance times for their driverless vehicles), because they’ve also made it very apparent they will be dumping the humans as fast as they can.
     
    What do people here think about that idea?

    Probably true, because why not?

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  121. eD says:
    @Jon

    The reason for Uber’s vast success
     
    Uber is not a vastly successful company. They are currently subsidizing about half of each fare. The strategy is apparently to bankrupt the competition by dumping their service on the market at way below profitable rates, and then eventually raising prices. A few problems, though (all related to barriers to entry):
    1. None of the drivers are employees, they can jump ship to another company or go independent at any time;
    2. None of the cars are owned by Uber, they have no physical capital;
    3. Their app, something that can be easily replicated, is their only proprietary asset (we already have Lyft, as well as apps that compare Uber, Lyft, and local taxi services so you can pick the cheapest / most convenient); and,
    4. Every time they enter a new city, they challenge the medallion system, one of the few barriers to entry into the business.
    Uber will eventually fail. How could it not?

    So if I am reading these comments correctly, what Uber provides is an app that makes it easier for gypsy cab drivers to find customers. It does seem like an investment scam.

    Having used them in Latin America, I am actually a fan of illegal/ quasi illegal vans and gypsy cabs because the licensed taxi monopolies did get too greedy. I just don’t see what Silicon Valley brings to the table in addressing this.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    A lot of very successful websites provide services that seem trivial but aren't :

    Ebay - is an app that makes it easier for flea market vendors to find customers.

    Air B&B - is an app that makes it easier for people with rooms to rent to find customers.

    Quantity has its own quality - if I try to sell my Howdy Doody doll in my neighborhood, how many people see my sign and are interested - on ebay it's exposed to the whole world. Likewise, if I'm a buyer looking for such a doll I could haunt garage sales for years and not find one, on ebay there are dozens.

    These sites have a very important function as an intermediary. If I visit random city X and you are a gypsy cab driver, how will we ever find each other? With uber, the nearest driver to you is summoned within minutes. Also these sites thru their rating system give you some idea of who you will be dealing with.
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  122. @Wally
    No, it was an attempt to reduce competition and keep prices up.

    How much is a NYC taxi medallion worth these days?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-is-a-nyc-taxi-medallion-worth-these-days/

    "The price of a taxi medallion crashed to its lowest level in about a decade when one sold for $241,000 in March. Last year, medallion sales ranged from $325,000 to $750,000. What has happened since 2013? The arrival of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which are now a competitive force on the city’s streets."

    Who says the Cracka ain’t so smart? He with his Jew in tow, sold to, the gullible and ignorant Paki, the medallion for a cool million bucks on which the latter will pay for the rest of his working life usurious interest and fees. But comes now the best part of the scam. Again, with his Jew in tow, he has managed to bring down the price of the medallion with Uber as the latest weapon, to a point where the Paki is left on the hook for the huuuge difference between the value of the asset and what he owes to the finance company. Thus, all that he has toiled in the intervening years is for naught and he will be indebted for life… so much for the American Dream!

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  123. @Dumbo
    This so-called "shared economy" really isn't.

    Those are not really "tech companies" but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Uber can be practical and cheaper than cabs but I hear they don't pay so well their drivers.

    On the other hand, I think there are more white drivers, as for some reason taxi drivers in most Western cities are African or Pakis (I wonder why? Just as nail saloons are exclusively Asian).

    AirBNB is also disappointing when you have problems with a host or a tenant, basically they disappear, their customer service sucks and you have to sort out the situation yourself.

    Not a fan of this "new economy", although over-regulation is also a problem.

    Anyway, I think anyone should be able to carry passengers for a charge, I don't really see what is the problem.

    Many years before Uber, in many Latin American countries some cities had "illegal vans" which actually were in many cases better than the "legal" transportation offered (buses and taxis). But they were forbidden because, well, I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.

    Those are not really “tech companies” but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Like Facebook, it’s a “tech company” because of the kinds of people who run and use it. It’s just another identity signal.

    My buddy just described his designing a hydraulic based robotic system this week, but since he’s old economy, he’s not tech.

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  124. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    Being a tech company with a decentralized business model might let you circumvent or ignore local traffic and business regulations, but if this was truly their business model… do they really think that “hey, don’t worry about it, we’re a tech company” is going to get them around anti-trust law?

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  125. @Random Dude on the Internet
    The Circle of Life for Silicon Valley:

    - Dork who lives in Silicon Valley comes up with an idea
    - Dork gets ungodly amounts of funding from venture capitalists
    - Dork hires talented programmers, who are almost always men, specifically White and Asian men
    - Dork makes billions by skirting laws that apply to other established competitors
    - Dork wants to make more billions so he starts flooding his firm with H1B visas
    - Dork gets called out for not being diverse/inclusive enough
    - Dork begins flooding his firm with diversity hires
    - Dork quits the company, gets shoved out, or gets bought out by another large tech firm
    - Dork travels the world praising the virtues of diversity while his company gets destroyed due to it
    - Dork spends the rest of his life pondering seeking higher office
    - Dork's firm shuts down or gets swallowed up entirely, ceasing to exist

    Random, sort of in line with your dorks, but a better salesman, Bernie Madder-Class, is Elon Musk. He talked NYS into fronting the parcel of property and the money to build his solar panel plant in Buffalo at the River Bend site, formerly home to Republic Steel. In return for the $750 million building and land Musk was to hire 500 people to work at the plant and another 1500 statewide. Plant is finished. Only hires are maintenance staff . Musk announced that they will start building his new solar roof tiles, not solar panels, in California to work out the bugs, no timetable for Buffalo start up. All and any equipment in the Buffalo plant belongs to Musk, according to a “force majeure” that was later added to the agreement. Genius on his part, doubt they will every build solar tiles or roof panels here. The Buffalo News stated this week that Musk declined to let them tour the plant.

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    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Buffalo,

    Genius on Musk part - Yes.

    Stupidity on Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS taxpayers parts - double Yes.
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  126. @Hibernian
    Was there a Twainesque "greatly exaggerated" report of his passing lately? I seem to remember one, and waited for tributes from various sources, which didn't seem to materialize as I expected.

    Yes, there was some kind of fake news site.

    Of course, nowadays, they are all fake news sites – NYtimes.com, washingtonpost.com, etc. Just yesterday I learned that Putin personally ordered Trump to be elected and the CIA’s spies who sit at Putin’s elbow heard him give the order. Obama was told and did nothing. Come to think of it, I believe the last sentence.

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    • LOL: Hibernian
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  127. @eD
    So if I am reading these comments correctly, what Uber provides is an app that makes it easier for gypsy cab drivers to find customers. It does seem like an investment scam.

    Having used them in Latin America, I am actually a fan of illegal/ quasi illegal vans and gypsy cabs because the licensed taxi monopolies did get too greedy. I just don't see what Silicon Valley brings to the table in addressing this.

    A lot of very successful websites provide services that seem trivial but aren’t :

    Ebay – is an app that makes it easier for flea market vendors to find customers.

    Air B&B – is an app that makes it easier for people with rooms to rent to find customers.

    Quantity has its own quality – if I try to sell my Howdy Doody doll in my neighborhood, how many people see my sign and are interested – on ebay it’s exposed to the whole world. Likewise, if I’m a buyer looking for such a doll I could haunt garage sales for years and not find one, on ebay there are dozens.

    These sites have a very important function as an intermediary. If I visit random city X and you are a gypsy cab driver, how will we ever find each other? With uber, the nearest driver to you is summoned within minutes. Also these sites thru their rating system give you some idea of who you will be dealing with.

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    • Replies: @Flip
    Not to mention Seeking Arrangement which lets white middle class girls earn extra money from informal prostitution by being a "sugar baby."
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  128. @Dave Pinsen
    Related:
    https://twitter.com/WallStCynic/status/877886932356812804

    Aren’t a lot of these people using this as part time or supplementary income though? I don’t think there are that many people trying to make a living off Airbnb or Etsy.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who backed Etsy, blogged once that women were making a living off of Etsy. It turned out that only something like 50 out of a million+ sellers were, and it lowered incomes overall for crafts, because it made crafters compete globally.
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  129. @Autochthon
    Uber is nothing special; Lyft is the most obvous competitor. Thus the ouster of Uber's CEO is unremarkable vis-a-vis increases in governmental efforts to regulate such corporations out of business. The efforts, however, are well under way and have been for years. Moat have ended in pay-offs to the extortionist governments (the events in Austin and Portland come to mind). The costs being driven up, though, have so far been foisted on drivers.

    Just as with telecommuting, a fine example wherein saved costs are always captured by employers at the expense of employees (when telecommuting is permitted at all), so too with these efficiencies in transport enabled by technology: the savings are captured by capital (whether a douche in an office in San Francisco, or a politician at city hall), and the costs and burdens accrue to the driver and consumer.

    Just as the prosperous decades following the Second World War and the concomitant growth of large middle class in what used to be the U.S.A turned out to have been anomalous hiccough in history, so too will the dramatic freedoms and democracy enjoyed from the Enlightenment (with the concomitant revolutions in America and France, and their progeny...) prove to be an anomalous hiccough in human history as acclerating technology (especially artificial intelligence) realigns things to the previous order of teening hordes of oppressed peasants and a small, entrenched cadre of bastards lording it over everyone else in obscene opulence.

    Auto, The NFTA, which runs the Buffalo/Niagara Airport announced that Uber and Lyft would have to pay a $3.50 pick-up/drop off fee at the terminal. So, Lyft is not going to provide service to the airport. The NFTA is one of NYS many powerful “authorities” that regulate our lives without the tedium of passing laws.

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  130. @Buffalo Joe
    Random, sort of in line with your dorks, but a better salesman, Bernie Madder-Class, is Elon Musk. He talked NYS into fronting the parcel of property and the money to build his solar panel plant in Buffalo at the River Bend site, formerly home to Republic Steel. In return for the $750 million building and land Musk was to hire 500 people to work at the plant and another 1500 statewide. Plant is finished. Only hires are maintenance staff . Musk announced that they will start building his new solar roof tiles, not solar panels, in California to work out the bugs, no timetable for Buffalo start up. All and any equipment in the Buffalo plant belongs to Musk, according to a "force majeure" that was later added to the agreement. Genius on his part, doubt they will every build solar tiles or roof panels here. The Buffalo News stated this week that Musk declined to let them tour the plant.

    Buffalo,

    Genius on Musk part – Yes.

    Stupidity on Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS taxpayers parts – double Yes.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Dan, Cuomo has his Buffalo Billions agenda where he tries to make it look like he has an interest in Upstate NY, of course his billions are actually our billions. I think Andrew will wind up being investigated and charged for some of his dealings.
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  131. @res
    Thanks for that link, Ron!

    One comment there caught my attention:

    Lynn S.
    December 1, 2016 at 12:52 am
    As someone who has driven for Uber part-time for almost a year, I can say that it very quickly became very apparent to me that Uber is using human drivers to generate data for mining: What are peak times for riders? Where do rides originate and end? What routes are drivers taking to get passengers from A to B?

    Uber will use all this data for their driverless fleet (for things like locating the car corrals, and scheduling maintenance times for their driverless vehicles), because they’ve also made it very apparent they will be dumping the humans as fast as they can.
     
    What do people here think about that idea?

    Hmm, interesting. People are wondering what uber could do to stop hemorrhaging $. If they could cut their labor cost to $0, that would be a big step toward profitability.

    OTOH, driverless technology remains tantalizingly out of reach – it’s ALMOST ready but not quite. It works 99% of the time but there are still situations where it gets confused. There was a recent Tesla crash where the driver was using the Tesla “autopilot” and not paying any attention to the road (they warn you not to do this). A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn’t see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake. (BTW – I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way. I suppose this works MOST of the time and saves you time at stop signs, but it seems to me that it’s a pretty risky strategy)

    If your computer gets confused, you reboot and it’s no big deal. If your driverless car gets confused, people die.

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    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn’t see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake.
     
    Interestingly enough, the deceased was said to be a former EOD technician and Navy SEAL, not the unworldly geek everyone assumed him to be.
    , @biz

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.
     
    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    , @peterike

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way

     

    I wonder how many of these drivers are differently cultured? I'd guess pretty much all of them.
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  132. So who’s right, Darnell or Danny Glover?

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  133. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    Bill, there is a guy from WNY who pilots a small pontoon boat offshore at Anna Marie Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He has a grill and some coolers on board, cruises just past the beach and turns to when a customer hails him. My friend knows the guy from here and says he does $100k a season.

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  134. I don’t see how uber is legal

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    • Replies: @a Newsreader
    Your powers of perception are unmeasurable.
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  135. @Steve Sailer
    A friend of mine drives from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica every morning for work, so he picks up an Uber passenger, which he finds very informative for conversation.

    Steve, we used to call that car pooling .

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  136. Uber strikes me as the perfect metaphor for the open borders ideology and the impact it will have on life as we know it. You have a system with limited entry (borders) and medallion owners (citizens) that allow those people who do own medallions to make a decent living. There are still inequalities – cab company owners vs. drivers, but all in all it is a system that works.

    Then you have the market “disrupters” who come in and openly flout cab laws (borders) with promises of free markets and prosperity for all. What really happens, though, is that the “disrupters” get enormous profits while throwing open the cab driving market to a workforce that is potentially unlimited – a hundred million people or more who meet the minimum restrictions to drive a cab and have some incentive to make money. The compensation from Uber, Lyft, etc. is even less than what it seems since they pay no health care, no insurance, and force their drivers to finance their own equipent.

    So wages fall dramatically to the lowest level necessary to bring in enough drivers. For the original medallion owners (citizens) cab driving was a career (= country) to which they have committed. To the new Uber drivers (= citizens of other countries) it’s merely one alternative among many which they can swiftly abandon for another career (country) should it not pan out. And many Uber drivers, of course, still retain their “medallions” (citizenship in their native countries) in other careers to which the cab drivers have little or no access.

    Pretty much every argument the Left/MSM makes against Uber is an argument against open borders.

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    • Agree: Abe
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  137. @Abe

    and finished off by removing the keys and hurling them as far as he could into the mayhem of the traffic (another tuk-tuk guy retrieved them at great risk).
     
    So for the offense of blocking an area of the street he shouldn't have for a small fraction of time, the officer rectified the situation by making sure the rickshaw driver would be blocking it for a far longer period of time? "Brilliant"!

    It was a dominance display. Pure and simple. That’s the future of the West, importing the sexual dynamics of the Third World. Because tingles. Why do you think women love love love Game of Thrones? The icky murder-rape scenes are dominance displays. Women are HARD WIRED to respond to this; its why all sane societies limit female sexuality to prevent a race to the bottom in dominance.

    As a White man you were offended by this retelling. You don’t like the humiliation because you rationally figure it could and would descend upon you eventually. Women love this; first they like humiliation and submitting, in preparation or during sex; and secondly find men dominating and abusing other men arousing. AGain, hard wired.

    There is no end to the ways in which women are the natural and eternal enemy of White men; simply because the two groups have hostile aims; the first the scene described above (because abuse and humiliation is arousing) and the second avoiding said humiliation and abuse.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    When (as often happens in the UK) some poor soul with "learning difficulties" (who would have been in an institution 50 years ago, but now is "cared for" in the "community") is found tortured and killed for amusement by his neighbours in that same community, there are almost always women involved in the torture/abuse.

    This recent story has enough material for a whole conference - (presumably) Muslim male, three white female followers, one white male vicvtim.

    http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/15356753._Dark_Ages__torture_campaign___gang_of_four_found_guilty_over_death_of_vulnerable_man/?ref=mrb&lp=19#comments-anchor

    " A sadistic gang have been convicted of a campaign of "Dark Ages" abuse against a vulnerable father-of-two, including forcing him to eat one of his own testicles, which eventually led to his death.

    Jimmy Prout, 45, thought the group were his friends but they turned on him and eventually dumped his lifeless body on wasteland just 100m from his home.

    Ann Corbett, 26, and Zahid Zaman, 43, were convicted of murder, having previously admitted perverting the course of justice.

    Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, having also admitted perverting the course of justice.

    Zaman, who uses a wheelchair and was the leader of the group, was described as vengeful and controlling and was determined to get his own back after he thought Mr Prout had been involved in a theft against him.

    Mr Prout was also posting pictures of his injuries on his own Facebook account at the time, with words such as "My bodie hurt" and "My sholder hurts". "
     
    , @James Kabala
    I was under the impression that Game of Thrones, like most pseud0-medieval high fantasy (as opposed to the more approachable Harry Potter world), had a primarily male audience.
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  138. @dr kill
    1970's Manhattan was fun as hell for a Bucks County farm boy. Less than two hours from Buckingham to the Port Authority. I think it was 8 bucks one way. I feel sorry for anyone who didn't live thru the 70's.

    Walking through Times Square and seeing all the peep shows in the late 1970s was an amazing experience.

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  139. @Jack D
    A lot of very successful websites provide services that seem trivial but aren't :

    Ebay - is an app that makes it easier for flea market vendors to find customers.

    Air B&B - is an app that makes it easier for people with rooms to rent to find customers.

    Quantity has its own quality - if I try to sell my Howdy Doody doll in my neighborhood, how many people see my sign and are interested - on ebay it's exposed to the whole world. Likewise, if I'm a buyer looking for such a doll I could haunt garage sales for years and not find one, on ebay there are dozens.

    These sites have a very important function as an intermediary. If I visit random city X and you are a gypsy cab driver, how will we ever find each other? With uber, the nearest driver to you is summoned within minutes. Also these sites thru their rating system give you some idea of who you will be dealing with.

    Not to mention Seeking Arrangement which lets white middle class girls earn extra money from informal prostitution by being a “sugar baby.”

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  140. This is not really related to the topic but I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this. . .

    We flew to Berlin-Tegel and I reserved a rental car for 2 weeks for $356 total through Priceline, which was about $50 cheaper than renting directly from Hertz. When I arrived to pick up the car, the Hertz agent would not honor the reservation unless I paid another $1000 for insurance. She said if I had rented directly from Hertz the insurance would not be required. I rented from another company that still had some cars left for $750. My hunch is that Hertz was overbooked and someone’s reservation was not going to be honored so they decided to give preference to people who booked directly with Hertz. It made me remember Steve’s comments about the questionable wisdom of seeking the rock bottom price for everything (e.g. Indian generic drugs, Chinese goods, illegal alien workers). In the future I will make my reservations directly with the car rental company or hotel rather than try and save a few bucks with one of the travel websites.

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  141. @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    You’re worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    22 minicab rapes a week in London
    … another wave of sex crimes involves predatory Muslim minicab drivers who are raping female passengers.
    … Freedom of Information requests seeking accurate data on minicab-related sexual assaults are routinely denied
    … a … report produced by the London Metropolitan Police Service estimates that on average there are a total of 1,125 sexual assaults, including rapes, each year involving minicab drivers in just London

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    "Sexual assault" and "rape" are not at all the same thing, though feminists like to conflate the two. I'll eat my hat if there are actually 3 minicab rapes every single night in London. The article lists about 2 dozen actual rapes from all over the UK over some period of years.

    If you read the story, many of the drivers were not even minicab drivers, just people pretending to be cab drivers.

    You'll also note that may of the women were passed out drunk. In the Muslim way of looking at things, getting into a car alone with a strange man while passed out drunk is just asking for it. Some of the cases also involve women without the money to pay the fare and incidents extremely late at night . Now of course rape is not justified in any of such cases but these women are hardly innocent lambs - at a minimum they were stupid.
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  142. @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    I suspect there’s more to it than that because otherwise, as you note, we just pull out our Google maps and presto, we’re all black cab drivers. So navigating London is probably more complicated than GPS tech on its own can surmount.

    OTOH, this may be an artificial barrier to entry. But it’s nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head.

    This seems broadly applicable. Remember the police candidate who got rejected because his IQ tested out at 120? I’d think cities would welcome candidates with higher levels of impulse control and low time-preference. Maybe the city bosses are worried about being able to dole out jobs to after the smart guy’s buddies show up and start acing all the exams and crowding out the bosses’ patronage networks. I don’t know.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    " it’s nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head"

    One of the early winners of the BBC Mastermind quiz show was a cabbie, who went on to a career in media (while still driving). In my experience though a satnav is OK for navigating in London - until a road closure (not infrequent), when the satnav will keep trying to steer you back to the closed road (some modern ones have real-time traffic info which should avoid this).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Housego
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  143. @Jack D
    Hmm, interesting. People are wondering what uber could do to stop hemorrhaging $. If they could cut their labor cost to $0, that would be a big step toward profitability.

    OTOH, driverless technology remains tantalizingly out of reach - it's ALMOST ready but not quite. It works 99% of the time but there are still situations where it gets confused. There was a recent Tesla crash where the driver was using the Tesla "autopilot" and not paying any attention to the road (they warn you not to do this). A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn't see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake. (BTW - I see this more and more - drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don't have right of way. I suppose this works MOST of the time and saves you time at stop signs, but it seems to me that it's a pretty risky strategy)


    If your computer gets confused, you reboot and it's no big deal. If your driverless car gets confused, people die.

    A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn’t see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake.

    Interestingly enough, the deceased was said to be a former EOD technician and Navy SEAL, not the unworldly geek everyone assumed him to be.

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  144. @Jack D
    Eastwood is not dead.

    Eastwood is not dead.

    While that’s true, Abe Vigoda (better-known as Tessio and Phil Fish in his showbiz roles) finally kicked the bucket in 2016.

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  145. In my city, it costs $40 to go to the airport, $50 from, with conventional taxis, a trip of 15-20 minutes. With Uber it’s about $15 less. I like it, my driver likes it, and as free individuals, we should be able to arrange such an agreement.

    Uber makes it hard to prevent these transactions, and so good for them. A good society lets individuals enter into mutually beneficial transactions, and historically such freedom is the basis for our increase in wealth over the past 250 years.

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    • Replies: @Opinionator
    What do you say to the restaurateur who wishes to hire the Mexican migrant for his kitchen staff, or the big tech company that wants to hire a dozen IT workers from India?
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  146. @Rod1963
    Uber is a cash furnace

    It's based on exploiting a bunch of fools thinking they're gonna make easy money. It's not different than being a paper delivery boy - the newspaper hires you as a independent contractor(with stipulations and penalties that ensure only illegals take it since their ID is fictitious) and you pay for everything else.

    That's right all the costs are on you now. Perfect scam for a company turning all their workers into independent contractors which absolves them of everything.

    The thing is every Uber/Lyft driver is one accident away from being impoverished. You can bet they only have the minimum passenger insurance, etc. No disability ins for themselves, etc. So if they get in a wreck - boom!!! BOHICA.

    Those fools buying a new vehicle for Uber are f**king idiots. The insurance they need to carry on themselves and the car will offset most of the profits they make. Debt serf here I come!!!

    You know how much the average Uber driver makes in a month? $364.00!!!

    https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

    Welcome to the 3rd world Silicon Valley style.

    On the positive side Uber may end up curing some people (their drivers) of libertarianism.

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  147. I read the report about how little money people earn working through Uber or TaskRabbit, but isn’t it possible that through those companies you might form connections that you can then exploit independently? For example, if you do some yard work for someone through TaskRabbit and they’re happy with your work, can’t they just make arrangements with you directly from then on? If a businessman needs a weekly ride to the airport and he likes an Uber driver, why not arrange to deal with that guy directly from then on? Is there an effective penalty built in?

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can’t transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay’s messaging system. But once someone buys from you and pays with PayPal, you have their direct contact info. Then you can say, “If you like what you bought from me, I have a lot more of it you could purchase directly.”

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    I know this happens from 2 sources already, Harry, and more power to them. They are "contractors" for Uber and 25% of the fare goes straight off to Uber. More on this.

    Cut out the middleman, and these guys can be the "gypsy" taxi drivers, but without the worry about safety, once the driver and riders know each other. This has another big, big advantage for this little bit of a free market, as it cuts the greedy IRS out of the whole deal. There's no way to do this under the Uber app, of course since everything is on record.

    This brings be to the tax business some more. Uber considers the drivers contractors, and that means Uber does not have to pay SS/Medicare and that, which can be easily 8-10% right there, in addition to not having to deal with any regulations requiring health benefits, etc. The drivers are not going to be able to get out of that - they can plead ignorance all they want, (I'm sure the nice lady in the video has no clue about this, but it's still due), but SS money @ 15 % is due and income tax is due on the amount on the 1099.

    This is another part where Uber is trying to scam the system - they want it both ways - All the drivers are contractors, so that's a big benefit for Uber, but then Uber wants to make a lot of rules for the drivers that aren't really appropriate for just contractors vs. actual employees.
    , @Achmed E. Newman

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can’t transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay’s messaging system.
     
    I've run into that lately - it wasn't long ago that you could get a phone number directly off the site; now I've got write an email to ask for their number or I'll give my email address.

    I have not been trying to gyp ebay just to save their cut, as the sellers are kind of wary anyway. It's more that paypay gave me crap about my debit card, and I'd had enough of it. Since then, I have bought 8 or 10 things off of the sellers directly by sending a check, and then getting my stuff in the mail. It's still somewhat America, I guess, because I never got stiffed. (course, I've only bought from sellers with American names, so .. you know)
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  148. utu says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    Many Uber drivers are not aware of the car depreciation concept. They are actually eating up their own car value thinking it’s their income. Minimum 15 cents per mile should be put aside towards the purchase of the next car.

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  149. @Hibernian
    Flavourless cuisine is common.

    Flavourless food is no more cuisine than the babbling of DeAndre Way is song.

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  150. biz says:
    @Jack D
    Hmm, interesting. People are wondering what uber could do to stop hemorrhaging $. If they could cut their labor cost to $0, that would be a big step toward profitability.

    OTOH, driverless technology remains tantalizingly out of reach - it's ALMOST ready but not quite. It works 99% of the time but there are still situations where it gets confused. There was a recent Tesla crash where the driver was using the Tesla "autopilot" and not paying any attention to the road (they warn you not to do this). A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn't see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake. (BTW - I see this more and more - drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don't have right of way. I suppose this works MOST of the time and saves you time at stop signs, but it seems to me that it's a pretty risky strategy)


    If your computer gets confused, you reboot and it's no big deal. If your driverless car gets confused, people die.

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.

    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

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    • Agree: Kyle McKenna
    • Replies: @Marty
    Happened to me yesterday in SF. White woman, about 50, in a minivan. Wanted to slap her.
    , @wrd9
    I chalk it up to the disintegration of society. People are too entitled. It used to be that people would be polite and courteous. I still see that sometimes but there's an intersection near my house that many people run the stop sign, leaving the right of way driver with little room to stop. It doesn't matter if there is a lot of traffic or little. I saw one right of way driver who purposely blocked the offending car and made her go around him. I usually blare the horn and give a "salute". I attribute it to the spread of liberal mentality.
    , @Bleuteaux
    In the Midwest, I'm noticing that it takes the average driver two full seconds to notice that the light has changed. I think the vast majority of people are glued to their phones the entire time they're driving.
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    I have noticed it more in the fashion of people looking at you from 100 yards or more, after having sat there already for a few seconds, then deciding "OK, I guess I DO have room to pull out after all" - about a 5 second decision time. By then, it's way too close for me to even coast, I've gotta brake for these assholes.

    I have my own theory on this. People, even the young ones that should have good eyesight and reflexes, are looking about 1 ft away from their eyes for large parts of the day. Their visual "accommodation", the moving of eye muscles to change the focal length, is about as slow as it is in the current day Abe Vigoda *. They are not judging speed worth a damn, much less acceleration.

    It used to be the young people had bad judgement in the purely mental sense, but good eyes and reflexes to take care of themselves that way. Kids these days ....

    * Abe Vigoda, he's DEAD TO ME!**

    ** OK, glad I'm not the only one; apparently he's dead to a lot of people

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  151. @Jack D
    Hmm, interesting. People are wondering what uber could do to stop hemorrhaging $. If they could cut their labor cost to $0, that would be a big step toward profitability.

    OTOH, driverless technology remains tantalizingly out of reach - it's ALMOST ready but not quite. It works 99% of the time but there are still situations where it gets confused. There was a recent Tesla crash where the driver was using the Tesla "autopilot" and not paying any attention to the road (they warn you not to do this). A white trailer (illegally) pulled out in front of the Tesla from a cross street and it was silhouetted against a bright sky and the Tesla software just didn't see it as an obstacle and drove full speed into the truck without even attempting to brake. (BTW - I see this more and more - drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don't have right of way. I suppose this works MOST of the time and saves you time at stop signs, but it seems to me that it's a pretty risky strategy)


    If your computer gets confused, you reboot and it's no big deal. If your driverless car gets confused, people die.

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way

    I wonder how many of these drivers are differently cultured? I’d guess pretty much all of them.

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  152. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I suspect there's more to it than that because otherwise, as you note, we just pull out our Google maps and presto, we're all black cab drivers. So navigating London is probably more complicated than GPS tech on its own can surmount.

    OTOH, this may be an artificial barrier to entry. But it's nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head.

    This seems broadly applicable. Remember the police candidate who got rejected because his IQ tested out at 120? I'd think cities would welcome candidates with higher levels of impulse control and low time-preference. Maybe the city bosses are worried about being able to dole out jobs to after the smart guy's buddies show up and start acing all the exams and crowding out the bosses' patronage networks. I don't know.

    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

    Again, only a small sliver of local revenue derives from fines. It's more consequential in places where you have extreme municipal fragmentation, as you do in greater St. Louis. (Alex Tabarrok made a big to do a while back about the fine income collected by Ferguson, Mo w/0 noting that the principal local beltway runs through about a dozen of more than 90 local municipalities, so the tickets issued on the beltway were returnable to just those 12 courts, Ferguson's included).
    , @Art Deco
    You're neglecting performance deficits derived from inattention, which can be a problem when employees are bored. Thomas Sowell has written on this subject. Associated with a given job is an optimum point re general intelligence.
    , @Jimbo
    The municipality in question was New London, CT, a small City which, while it has a large enough black population to make for some interesting crimes, is pretty much a sleepy burg where advancement opportunities are few. The reason that they gave is that people who are too smart would get bored with such work and end up leaving the force, this wasting the not inconsiderable sum the city spent to train them.

    Seems reasonable enough to me.
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  153. @Random Dude on the Internet
    The Circle of Life for Silicon Valley:

    - Dork who lives in Silicon Valley comes up with an idea
    - Dork gets ungodly amounts of funding from venture capitalists
    - Dork hires talented programmers, who are almost always men, specifically White and Asian men
    - Dork makes billions by skirting laws that apply to other established competitors
    - Dork wants to make more billions so he starts flooding his firm with H1B visas
    - Dork gets called out for not being diverse/inclusive enough
    - Dork begins flooding his firm with diversity hires
    - Dork quits the company, gets shoved out, or gets bought out by another large tech firm
    - Dork travels the world praising the virtues of diversity while his company gets destroyed due to it
    - Dork spends the rest of his life pondering seeking higher office
    - Dork's firm shuts down or gets swallowed up entirely, ceasing to exist

    LOL not juat vc,firms.

    There’s an absurd amount of Wall St money going to Silicon Valley.

    For instance FB is worth more than Walmart even though it has lower revenues, has little in the way of real assets & other than a few token ad revenue and gaming fee streams it doesnt make money.

    Ive even seen articles saying that if FB changed the way it did accounting it would LOSE MONEY every yr….

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  154. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    Hilarious, still laughing.

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  155. @eric
    In my city, it costs $40 to go to the airport, $50 from, with conventional taxis, a trip of 15-20 minutes. With Uber it's about $15 less. I like it, my driver likes it, and as free individuals, we should be able to arrange such an agreement.

    Uber makes it hard to prevent these transactions, and so good for them. A good society lets individuals enter into mutually beneficial transactions, and historically such freedom is the basis for our increase in wealth over the past 250 years.

    What do you say to the restaurateur who wishes to hire the Mexican migrant for his kitchen staff, or the big tech company that wants to hire a dozen IT workers from India?

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    • Replies: @eric
    I'm assuming I'm working with Americans. Clearly, I could always import a third-worlder to do housekeeping at a fraction of the cost of my value, but realize this generates large externalities born mainly by others. That goes for sub-contractors. I'm an old fashioned libertarian, like Milton Friedman, Hoppe.

    I think the modern libertarians are insecure about their morality, think they need open borders to highlight they help the underdog. They don't realize it's not sustainable.
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  156. @anon
    Long term, Uber with at least one other competitor should be able better balance supply and demand. If it needs higher fares longer term, that's OK also.

    In Chicago, medallions cost as much as $350,000 before the price crashed. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/04/13/chicago-taxi-medallion-prices-plunge/.


    “We don’t have a future anymore,” says Ellias Lopera, 54, a veteran Chicago cab driver. “No matter how many hours you work a day you don’t make money. You just pay the bills.”

    Lopera placed a big bet on his future when he paid $40,000 in 1994 for his first medallion. Six years later, he paid $70,000 for a second.
     

    At peak prices, no cab driver had a chance at owning his own cab.

    Even if you want a regulated type of system, I would use the uber model and add regulation to that as needed. But what would enhance safety? I would be ok with minimum price per mile.

    We don’t have a future anymore,” says Ellias Lopera, 54, a veteran Chicago cab driver. “No matter how many hours you work a day you don’t make money. You just pay the bills.”

    This describes ninety-nine per cent of all work, including most of us working in Silly Valley. I’l sure Lopera supports accelerating overpopulation, though.

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  157. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    You should send a résumé to Mike Judge; this is comedy gold!

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  158. This is peculiar. Syracuse has a homicide rate a bit more than half that of Rochester and Buffalo. It lacks the disconcerting post-industrial decay you find in Utica. It has shabby-sketchy neighborhoods, but not true slums that your find in other New York cities. I don’t think you have many homicides in the course of robberies or burglaries either. The typical story in the papers is that two guys get into an argument at a party and one wastes the other then and there or hunts him down a few hours later and kills him.

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  159. @Jack D
    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

    Again, only a small sliver of local revenue derives from fines. It’s more consequential in places where you have extreme municipal fragmentation, as you do in greater St. Louis. (Alex Tabarrok made a big to do a while back about the fine income collected by Ferguson, Mo w/0 noting that the principal local beltway runs through about a dozen of more than 90 local municipalities, so the tickets issued on the beltway were returnable to just those 12 courts, Ferguson’s included).

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  160. @Jack D
    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

    You’re neglecting performance deficits derived from inattention, which can be a problem when employees are bored. Thomas Sowell has written on this subject. Associated with a given job is an optimum point re general intelligence.

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  161. @Harry Baldwin
    I read the report about how little money people earn working through Uber or TaskRabbit, but isn't it possible that through those companies you might form connections that you can then exploit independently? For example, if you do some yard work for someone through TaskRabbit and they're happy with your work, can't they just make arrangements with you directly from then on? If a businessman needs a weekly ride to the airport and he likes an Uber driver, why not arrange to deal with that guy directly from then on? Is there an effective penalty built in?

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can't transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay's messaging system. But once someone buys from you and pays with PayPal, you have their direct contact info. Then you can say, "If you like what you bought from me, I have a lot more of it you could purchase directly."

    I know this happens from 2 sources already, Harry, and more power to them. They are “contractors” for Uber and 25% of the fare goes straight off to Uber. More on this.

    Cut out the middleman, and these guys can be the “gypsy” taxi drivers, but without the worry about safety, once the driver and riders know each other. This has another big, big advantage for this little bit of a free market, as it cuts the greedy IRS out of the whole deal. There’s no way to do this under the Uber app, of course since everything is on record.

    This brings be to the tax business some more. Uber considers the drivers contractors, and that means Uber does not have to pay SS/Medicare and that, which can be easily 8-10% right there, in addition to not having to deal with any regulations requiring health benefits, etc. The drivers are not going to be able to get out of that – they can plead ignorance all they want, (I’m sure the nice lady in the video has no clue about this, but it’s still due), but SS money @ 15 % is due and income tax is due on the amount on the 1099.

    This is another part where Uber is trying to scam the system – they want it both ways – All the drivers are contractors, so that’s a big benefit for Uber, but then Uber wants to make a lot of rules for the drivers that aren’t really appropriate for just contractors vs. actual employees.

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  162. @The Anti-Gnostic
    I suspect there's more to it than that because otherwise, as you note, we just pull out our Google maps and presto, we're all black cab drivers. So navigating London is probably more complicated than GPS tech on its own can surmount.

    OTOH, this may be an artificial barrier to entry. But it's nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head.

    This seems broadly applicable. Remember the police candidate who got rejected because his IQ tested out at 120? I'd think cities would welcome candidates with higher levels of impulse control and low time-preference. Maybe the city bosses are worried about being able to dole out jobs to after the smart guy's buddies show up and start acing all the exams and crowding out the bosses' patronage networks. I don't know.

    ” it’s nice to have a cab driver smart enough to hold a map of London in his head”

    One of the early winners of the BBC Mastermind quiz show was a cabbie, who went on to a career in media (while still driving). In my experience though a satnav is OK for navigating in London – until a road closure (not infrequent), when the satnav will keep trying to steer you back to the closed road (some modern ones have real-time traffic info which should avoid this).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Housego

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  163. @Harry Baldwin
    I read the report about how little money people earn working through Uber or TaskRabbit, but isn't it possible that through those companies you might form connections that you can then exploit independently? For example, if you do some yard work for someone through TaskRabbit and they're happy with your work, can't they just make arrangements with you directly from then on? If a businessman needs a weekly ride to the airport and he likes an Uber driver, why not arrange to deal with that guy directly from then on? Is there an effective penalty built in?

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can't transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay's messaging system. But once someone buys from you and pays with PayPal, you have their direct contact info. Then you can say, "If you like what you bought from me, I have a lot more of it you could purchase directly."

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can’t transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay’s messaging system.

    I’ve run into that lately – it wasn’t long ago that you could get a phone number directly off the site; now I’ve got write an email to ask for their number or I’ll give my email address.

    I have not been trying to gyp ebay just to save their cut, as the sellers are kind of wary anyway. It’s more that paypay gave me crap about my debit card, and I’d had enough of it. Since then, I have bought 8 or 10 things off of the sellers directly by sending a check, and then getting my stuff in the mail. It’s still somewhat America, I guess, because I never got stiffed. (course, I’ve only bought from sellers with American names, so .. you know)

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    • Replies: @Lot
    A good way to screen ebay sellers is look for "ebay member since X". Someone on ebay since the 90's is unlikely to be a scammer. Someone with 100's of professional looking listings who joined in 2016 likely got booted off and has reregistered.
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  164. @biz

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.
     
    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    Happened to me yesterday in SF. White woman, about 50, in a minivan. Wanted to slap her.

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  165. Lot says:
    @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    The HBD analysis that I see is simpler:

    1. All Uber users have a smart phone and bank account in good standing, dropping out the lower 30% of the socioeconomic spectrum who are typically money losing customers for middle to high end service companies.

    2. drivers and riders both rate each other after each ride. problematic people are automatically weeded out. (One of the funnier moments in Girls is where Hannah begs a friend for a ride because she was “banned from Uber because of my low ratings.”)

    3. Because Uber means you are less likely to deal with problematic drivers/riders, drivers will take less pay than taxi drivers while riders will pay more.

    Right now Uber charges much less than taxis outside of peak time surge pricing. But I’d pay the same or more. Your average obnoxious taxi driver who jabbers in Arabic on his cell phone the whole ride, or plays ugly French rap music, would not last a week working for Uber.

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  166. @Achmed E. Newman

    Ebay goes to some lengths to prevent dealers from cutting ebay out of their sales to customers; for example, you can’t transmit email addresses or phone numbers through ebay’s messaging system.
     
    I've run into that lately - it wasn't long ago that you could get a phone number directly off the site; now I've got write an email to ask for their number or I'll give my email address.

    I have not been trying to gyp ebay just to save their cut, as the sellers are kind of wary anyway. It's more that paypay gave me crap about my debit card, and I'd had enough of it. Since then, I have bought 8 or 10 things off of the sellers directly by sending a check, and then getting my stuff in the mail. It's still somewhat America, I guess, because I never got stiffed. (course, I've only bought from sellers with American names, so .. you know)

    A good way to screen ebay sellers is look for “ebay member since X”. Someone on ebay since the 90′s is unlikely to be a scammer. Someone with 100′s of professional looking listings who joined in 2016 likely got booted off and has reregistered.

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  167. @lavoisier
    In fact this is true. Being a taxi driver in a major US city is particularly dangerous--far more dangerous than police work.

    And many taxi drivers lost their lives because of PC and the insistence by the great and the good that one should not fear black people--even the very vulnerable like taxi drivers.

    Shame on Giuliani for siding with the fool Danny Glover and forcing honest people to die for the myth that black people are no more dangerous than anyone else.

    Liberals are always willing to let others die for the sake of preserving their egalitarian myths.

    Taxi driving is much safer in NYC than it used to be. I believe in 1990-91 about 75 NYC cabbies were murdered over about two years. The cabdrivers used to have pro-law and order demonstrations up Park Avenue.

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  168. @Ed
    My dad drove a cab in DC for 40 years. He was robbed twice, during one robbery he was stuffed in the trunk and left there for hours.

    He's from Ghana and would only pick up black men if they wore suits, otherwise he'd pass them by. He used to tell me that he'd never pick me up if he saw me on the street hailing a cab. Evidently it's a standing rule for most DC cabbies. Needless to say they rarely if ever venture to Anacostia.

    When DC sought to force through anti-discriminatory measures the cabbies protested. Think the measure still passed though.

    Anyway dad finally quit because of.....Uber.

    Most cabbies in DC or NYC are minorities/immigrants and they don’t pick up blacks. Some because they are supposedly bad tippers. Yet, liberals blame whites for blacks not being able to hail a cab.

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  169. @biz

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.
     
    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    I chalk it up to the disintegration of society. People are too entitled. It used to be that people would be polite and courteous. I still see that sometimes but there’s an intersection near my house that many people run the stop sign, leaving the right of way driver with little room to stop. It doesn’t matter if there is a lot of traffic or little. I saw one right of way driver who purposely blocked the offending car and made her go around him. I usually blare the horn and give a “salute”. I attribute it to the spread of liberal mentality.

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  170. @Anon
    It seems these two items contradict each other:

    "Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip."

    How the heck do you lose money as a company if you're offloading nearly all your business operating expenses on your employee-drivers? What money is there to 'lose' if drivers are paying for all the expenses out of their pay from customers?

    The only operating expenses left at Uber that I can see are some office expenses at its headquarters and paying the salaries of the bigwigs. I suspect those billions were disappearing because part of the 'business expenses' being charged on the bottom line are super-massive salaries for the Uber bigwigs, which are coming straight out of the original investors' startup capital. Uber looks like a company set up with the main purpose of fleecing those investors for their billions, and everything else is secondary.

    How the heck do you lose money as a company if you’re offloading nearly all your business operating expenses on your employee-drivers? What money is there to ‘lose’ if drivers are paying for all the expenses out of their pay from customers?

    The only operating expenses left at Uber that I can see are some office expenses at its headquarters and paying the salaries of the bigwigs.

    Well, Uber did pay $700M to buy the company of that top Google engineer who supposedly stole all of Google’s self-driving car technical data…

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  171. @Emblematic
    If name-dropping is considered pretentious, does the same apply to year-dropping?

    If I really wanted to year drop I would have gone back farther than ten years — I’ve been reading isteve since the late 90s. Actually, I first discovered Steve when I was in my early 20s back in ’97, and have been a faithful reader ever since.

    But I am quite serious about the change in tone. It’s only relatively recently that people who consider themselves better than others – as opposed to those who appreciate the cutting-edge opinion and insights – have begun to appropriate comment threads.

    But I should probably shut up about it, because this is just the result of respectability, and Steve totally deserves to make a good living from his efforts.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Bill, I remember years ago young Steve was cutting my lawn and he went on about how open borders would bring in illegal workers which would lead to him losing yard jobs. I double tipped him and said...."You know kid, as soon as they invent the internet you should start a blog." But hey, that was years ago.
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  172. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    When I was driving for them, I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don't know, but it's not that high a barrier.

    And Uber's insurance is pretty limited. Also, if you file a claim for your insurance company, they'll ask you if you're driving for Uber or similar, and will likely cancel your insurance if they find out you are.

    I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don’t know, but it’s not that high a barrier.

    . It started out as a reasonable barrier — when it was only a regular credit card. But the riders from these places — did they seem reasonably ok? Even if the average thug may be from this sort of area, the average resident in even the poorest places aren’t criminals. However, I may be behind the times.

    I think insurance companies have come to terms with Uber. GEICO advertises for drivers. — but I’m sure at a price. However, there is clearly a cost that is transferred to the driver. Now a typical car can last 200,000 miles with maintenance — so it isn’t as hard on a vehicle as it used to be. I also wonder how much tax is paid on these earnings. It is a small business and you can deduct expenses.

    I’m aware of a guy that is good at multi tasking that does Uber, Lyft, and deliveries at the same time. I think he does pretty well in a city, but its hard work.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Uber use cuts across all segments of society. I drove everyone from private jet pilots and ER docs to ghetto dwellers, and everyone in between.

    I have GEICO insurance. I needed to get an email from Uber saying I no longer drove with them to get them to keep my insurance. They didn't mention a different Uber rate.
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  173. EH says:
    @Macumazahn
    "With Uber I will decline it if they send me to a bad neighborhood."
    Really, you can do that? Doesn't Uber have the same sort of "community" rules as Airbnb, forcing its drivers to pick up any godforsaken creature that demands a ride through the app?
    If not, I'm sure that "feature" is coming soon.

    Generally the rideshare companies will not send a driver to a pickup more than ten minutes away, so staying away from bad areas allows some choice of passengers. OTOHd rivers don’t know where prospective riders want to go before they accept the rides, nor usually until they actually pick the passenger up. (I think one can check the waybill before picking up the customer, but few drivers know that. Also, some riders do not enter a destination in the app.) After picking up the passenger, at that point the driver gets the address and the driver can cancel the ride, but doing so reduces the driver’s acceptance rate and may result in the driver getting blackballed if the acceptance rate falls much below 90%. Before accepting a ride request he driver only gets to know the passenger’s first name and rating from prior rides, if any (which may not be that of the actual passenger – people often call rides for friends) and to see the passenger’s photo, if they uploaded one. The worry about bad neighborhoods is somewhat misplaced, the traffic on the route, the number of interstate merges and left turns, and the particular passenger determine nearly all of the risk of injury. The problem with going to bad neighborhoods, particularly late at night, is that the driver will have to eat the cost and time of driving a long way back to an area where they are likely to get another ride request.

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  174. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    My most recent e-mail from Harris Seeds included something about a thrilling new innovation in hot dog cookery.

    “Say goodbye to boring hot dogs forever!”

    https://www.harrisseeds.com/products/41603-slotdog-hot-dog-cutter

    Combine that with the trade name “Schlong’s.” Deliver them via Amazon Drone.

    Anyway, your idea reminded me of Die Hipster, which had an item awhile ago about repackaging Slim Jims as Slim James in a wooden box or some such.

    Die Hipster is where I go when my Philly punk needs stronger hooch than the Gentlemanly hereabouts.

    https://twitter.com/HipsterBeatings

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    • LOL: Harry Baldwin
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  175. @biz

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.
     
    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    In the Midwest, I’m noticing that it takes the average driver two full seconds to notice that the light has changed. I think the vast majority of people are glued to their phones the entire time they’re driving.

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    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    I'm noticing that more and more. I used to be reluctant to beep at people who didn't start moving a few seconds after the light turned green, but not lately. I know they're busily texting away and will sit there and let the light turn red again if someone doesn't alert them. Or worse, they'll look up just as the light turns yellow and be the only one to make it through.
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  176. @Yak-15
    I have a statistician intern working on assessing my theory on short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs. I will share the results here. Seems like a source of alpha no one has approached.

    “short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs”.

    https://qz.com/566977/companies-with-more-women-directors-generate-a-36-higher-return-on-equity/

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    • Replies: @Yak-15
    Well, if That is where the value added exists way I shall bet accordingly. But I sincerely doubt the methods of this study.

    However, I work in trading. It's completely about making money. But there are very few blacks. No need to wonder why.
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  177. @Hippopotamusdrome

    You’re worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

     

    22 minicab rapes a week in London
    ... another wave of sex crimes involves predatory Muslim minicab drivers who are raping female passengers.
    ... Freedom of Information requests seeking accurate data on minicab-related sexual assaults are routinely denied
    ... a ... report produced by the London Metropolitan Police Service estimates that on average there are a total of 1,125 sexual assaults, including rapes, each year involving minicab drivers in just London

     

    “Sexual assault” and “rape” are not at all the same thing, though feminists like to conflate the two. I’ll eat my hat if there are actually 3 minicab rapes every single night in London. The article lists about 2 dozen actual rapes from all over the UK over some period of years.

    If you read the story, many of the drivers were not even minicab drivers, just people pretending to be cab drivers.

    You’ll also note that may of the women were passed out drunk. In the Muslim way of looking at things, getting into a car alone with a strange man while passed out drunk is just asking for it. Some of the cases also involve women without the money to pay the fare and incidents extremely late at night . Now of course rape is not justified in any of such cases but these women are hardly innocent lambs – at a minimum they were stupid.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    " In the Muslim way of looking at things, getting into a car alone with a strange man while passed out drunk is just asking for it."

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2844528/Taxi-driver-three-friends-sentenced-total-68-years-gang-rape-drunk-woman-passenger.html
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  178. @empty
    well, apparently I got fooled by the Fake News ... what kind of sick asshole comes up with shit like that?

    Hey, Empty, was whoever told you that Italian, with a New Jersey accent? Maybe you missed the last part is all:

    Clint Eastwood! He’s dead to me!

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  179. anon • Disclaimer says:

    UberX seats 4 passengers. It is the least expensive Uber service. Uber X cars are cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord. Known as UberPop in Europe

    UberXL seats 6 passengers. UberXL cars are SUVs and minivans. XL costs more than UberX

    UberSelect is Uber’s entry-level luxury service that seats up to 4 riders. Select cars are brands like BMW, Mercededs, Audi, etc with a leather interior.

    UberPOOL: Share your Uber with another Uber user and split the cost. Read more about POOL.

    UberBLACK and UberSUV is Uber’s luxury service. Commercially registered and insured livery vehicles, typically a black SUV or luxury sedan. Black is the most expensive Uber service

    Uber or über like transportation is here for the duration. Disruptive firms frequently don’t make money. Or last. But they disrupt.

    FWIW, in Chicago — prior to Uber — it was roughly the same price or cheaper to take a ‘limo’ to the airport than a metered cab. The ‘Limo’ business wasn’t a limo in the traditional sense of the term. Rather, they were (at the time) Town Cars or Caddy Sedans that were clean and reasonable, but not luxury. It seemed like the Russians did a lot of it. No ride hailing and no medallion and they paid something (maybe) to the airport, but overall, it was run as a business class sort of service and worked. It’s still around, but I’m sure it has lost some market share.

    I can see boutique versions of Uber in the future. Same with Airbnb. In Seattle, I stayed at that sort of rental, but it was private and word of mouth only.

    Uber is in sort of a race to the bottom. Maybe they think their premium versions will stick.

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  180. @Hdhdh
    Just the same as Kalanick is scamming drivers, Bezos is scamming sellers, and Musk is scamming environmentalists and using government subsidies. These tech oligarchs have had access to cheap capital because of low interest rates too. None of these firms did as well prior to the Financial Crisis when interest rates were higher, and when investors had better risk-free return alternatives. Investors starved for returns keep propping these yet unprofitable business models up. Uber, Tesla and even Amazon will hit a wall if rates ever normalize, unable to fund their never-ending schemes as easily.

    https://www.equities.com/news/how-low-interest-rates-have-propped-up-amazon-and-tesla

    That sounds like what one would read at Zerohedge, and I have no reason to disagree with that. It’s .com bubble 2.0, but only the big guys are allowed this time. No pets.com and dogpile, Lycos, and Altavista this go around.

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    There's a lot of trash ("unicorns") waiting for the payout this time too.
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  181. @Brett Stevens
    All of the gig economy is a scam.

    The point is that there are a lot of under-employed or unemployed white people out there because of affirmative action, or its secondary consequence, which is minorities favoring each other in hiring and promotion.

    So a lucky few end up working at Google, Walmart, or having their own gig, but the rest are at there trying to make ends meet with odd jobs and selling stuff on eBay.

    Uber saw a resource and determined to exploit it, but once they got into people wanting to do this as a singular job instead of as a part-time gig, they had to compensate and are finding out that this business model does not work well.

    If you are a white guy, earning too little but with spare time, and you already have a car, Uber works great for occasional income top-ups. Or at least used to. Kalanick just got forced out for participating in corporate espionage, so expect some shakeups.

    … once they got into people wanting to do this as a singular job instead of as a part-time gig, they had to compensate and are finding out that this business model does not work well.

    See, I don’t get this part, and I’ve read it in previous comments too. I understand Uber is losing money, but why does it matter how much each employee contractor driver drives? Uber take its 25% off of the customers’ fares, whether it’s from one guy driving 40 hours, or 4 guys driving 10 hours.

    Uber has some minor fixed costs associated with the drivers, like checking out the car (via electronic means, not in person), setting up accounts and that – probably pretty low, as they put all the onus of getting set up on the driver. Even so, this would give them ever-so-slightly more money for fewer drivers driving the same total hours.

    It won’t hurt my feelings if someone here can answer my question by showing me I’m wrong.

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  182. @biz

    I see this more and more – drivers pulling out in front of you who are relying on YOU to brake even though they don’t have right of way.
     
    Thank you! This phenomenon seems to me to be increasing at a ridiculous rate.

    I feel like as recently as a few years ago it was a big deal for someone to pull out without the right of way and force me to quickly react and brake, something noteworthy enough for me to maybe even remember it and tell someone about, whereas now it has gotten to the point where I just expect it every time I am rolling along and a car is up ahead looking to make a turn in to my lane. This complete change has happened over maybe 5 years.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    I have noticed it more in the fashion of people looking at you from 100 yards or more, after having sat there already for a few seconds, then deciding “OK, I guess I DO have room to pull out after all” – about a 5 second decision time. By then, it’s way too close for me to even coast, I’ve gotta brake for these assholes.

    I have my own theory on this. People, even the young ones that should have good eyesight and reflexes, are looking about 1 ft away from their eyes for large parts of the day. Their visual “accommodation”, the moving of eye muscles to change the focal length, is about as slow as it is in the current day Abe Vigoda *. They are not judging speed worth a damn, much less acceleration.

    It used to be the young people had bad judgement in the purely mental sense, but good eyes and reflexes to take care of themselves that way. Kids these days ….

    * Abe Vigoda, he’s DEAD TO ME!**

    ** OK, glad I’m not the only one; apparently he’s dead to a lot of people

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  183. @Bleuteaux
    In the Midwest, I'm noticing that it takes the average driver two full seconds to notice that the light has changed. I think the vast majority of people are glued to their phones the entire time they're driving.

    I’m noticing that more and more. I used to be reluctant to beep at people who didn’t start moving a few seconds after the light turned green, but not lately. I know they’re busily texting away and will sit there and let the light turn red again if someone doesn’t alert them. Or worse, they’ll look up just as the light turns yellow and be the only one to make it through.

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  184. @Dan Hayes
    Buffalo,

    Genius on Musk part - Yes.

    Stupidity on Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS taxpayers parts - double Yes.

    Dan, Cuomo has his Buffalo Billions agenda where he tries to make it look like he has an interest in Upstate NY, of course his billions are actually our billions. I think Andrew will wind up being investigated and charged for some of his dealings.

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  185. @Jack D
    In the case of the police, their justification was that people who are dumber are more likely to follow orders without question and that the police are a paramilitary organization where obedience is highly prized. If the cops started wondering whether their jobs writing speeding tickets and arresting people for smoking harmless herbs that never killed anyone were just legalized revenue raising rackets, that might not be good.

    The municipality in question was New London, CT, a small City which, while it has a large enough black population to make for some interesting crimes, is pretty much a sleepy burg where advancement opportunities are few. The reason that they gave is that people who are too smart would get bored with such work and end up leaving the force, this wasting the not inconsiderable sum the city spent to train them.

    Seems reasonable enough to me.

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  186. @Bill P
    If I really wanted to year drop I would have gone back farther than ten years -- I've been reading isteve since the late 90s. Actually, I first discovered Steve when I was in my early 20s back in '97, and have been a faithful reader ever since.

    But I am quite serious about the change in tone. It's only relatively recently that people who consider themselves better than others - as opposed to those who appreciate the cutting-edge opinion and insights - have begun to appropriate comment threads.

    But I should probably shut up about it, because this is just the result of respectability, and Steve totally deserves to make a good living from his efforts.

    Bill, I remember years ago young Steve was cutting my lawn and he went on about how open borders would bring in illegal workers which would lead to him losing yard jobs. I double tipped him and said….”You know kid, as soon as they invent the internet you should start a blog.” But hey, that was years ago.

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    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    What, you think that makes you special, Buffalo Joe? I was the one who sold The Sailers that cheap-ass plastic Christmas tree in the picture. I had some weird-named young couple, the Omidyars, as I recollect, help me arrange the sale. I remember telling them that it would be cool if someone could develop some kind of easier way to sell used stuff, maybe using those $1,000 LED calculators or something.
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  187. @Romanian
    He has plenty of the usual kind of music, too, including soundtracks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BioylrW8jhU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0RKpmjjpLQ

    I really like much of his work. I just do not listen to the rest.

    In the early 1980s, Philip Glass represented a new form of accessible American art music. You’ve seen the tricks pioneered in the 1983 Glass-scored movie Koyaanisqatsi in a million TV commercials since then, but they were quite stunning 34 years ago.

    Glass and movie composer John Williams were commissioned to compose the ceremonial music for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as a sign that Americans were doing good stuff in music.

    Glass’s music would make a good score for a Jacques Tati film about M. Hulot.

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  188. Some history. Since Uber started in San Francisco, we can look at local conditions to understand its roots. During the 70s and 80s there were repeated efforts to regulate and improve the taxi cab industry, some be bitter citizen’s initiatives and some by supervisor’s legislation. The tweeks plus increased street traffic caused a collapse of the cab industry. Nobody could make any money so the job was not being done. (Remember street traffic is just people going where they want to go; other people’s freedom) A cab was rarely seen except at 85 miles per hour dead heading to the airport on 101. Low pay meant new immigrants became drivers, drivers who did not know the city, who had culturally different ways to deal with passengers(particularly women) and who were perceived as less safe. Enter BH and his partner with a City mandated program for cab driver safety and some believed cab driver courtesy. One of those was Ms. R of a San Francisco newspaper. Note that a man’s obligation to be nice to a woman is still a subtext to the story all the way to the Uber Board of Directors. The City program collapsed when it was alleged that cab drivers paid BH and his partner avoid the program. Today R still blames BH for the creation of Uber and incidental social ills.

    Today’s San Francisco Uber drivers are a long ways from the straight shooting street smart Robert Duvall in Bullitt, but they are better than that posturing driver who subjected his passenger to blaring Middle Eastern music at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook.

    Uber was created to fill a vacuum, a Venezuelan type vacuum. The job will get done and I will not ride a bus.

    Some notes; Once billed as a “side hustle”, it seems driving is now mostly full time, temporary full time they say. And the schedule c deduction for auto mileage is really pretty fair

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  189. @Escher
    The power disparity between the state (establishment) and the populace (peasantry) has never been this large. A rebellion wouldn't stand a chance.

    I don’t know. The organs that exert legitimate violence for the state are not monolithically loyal to it. I mean, Napoleon was a commissioned officer, it didn’t stop him from turning to and supporting the French Revolution. Same with Washington, and most other rebel leaders.

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  190. @Buffalo Joe
    Bill, I remember years ago young Steve was cutting my lawn and he went on about how open borders would bring in illegal workers which would lead to him losing yard jobs. I double tipped him and said...."You know kid, as soon as they invent the internet you should start a blog." But hey, that was years ago.

    What, you think that makes you special, Buffalo Joe? I was the one who sold The Sailers that cheap-ass plastic Christmas tree in the picture. I had some weird-named young couple, the Omidyars, as I recollect, help me arrange the sale. I remember telling them that it would be cool if someone could develop some kind of easier way to sell used stuff, maybe using those $1,000 LED calculators or something.

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    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
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  191. @anon

    I picked up riders in the sketchiest parts of Newark and Paterson. People had Uber there. Whether they were using credit cards or debit cards, I don’t know, but it’s not that high a barrier.
     
    . It started out as a reasonable barrier -- when it was only a regular credit card. But the riders from these places -- did they seem reasonably ok? Even if the average thug may be from this sort of area, the average resident in even the poorest places aren't criminals. However, I may be behind the times.

    I think insurance companies have come to terms with Uber. GEICO advertises for drivers. -- but I'm sure at a price. However, there is clearly a cost that is transferred to the driver. Now a typical car can last 200,000 miles with maintenance -- so it isn't as hard on a vehicle as it used to be. I also wonder how much tax is paid on these earnings. It is a small business and you can deduct expenses.

    I'm aware of a guy that is good at multi tasking that does Uber, Lyft, and deliveries at the same time. I think he does pretty well in a city, but its hard work.

    Uber use cuts across all segments of society. I drove everyone from private jet pilots and ER docs to ghetto dwellers, and everyone in between.

    I have GEICO insurance. I needed to get an email from Uber saying I no longer drove with them to get them to keep my insurance. They didn’t mention a different Uber rate.

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  192. @Barnard
    Aren't a lot of these people using this as part time or supplementary income though? I don't think there are that many people trying to make a living off Airbnb or Etsy.

    Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who backed Etsy, blogged once that women were making a living off of Etsy. It turned out that only something like 50 out of a million+ sellers were, and it lowered incomes overall for crafts, because it made crafters compete globally.

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    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    LOL--cafepress claims that some of its sellers are clearing $100,000+ a year. I'd love to see the precise number. At a 5% royalty rate on products you sell through them, that would require quite a lot of volume.
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  193. @Opinionator
    What do you say to the restaurateur who wishes to hire the Mexican migrant for his kitchen staff, or the big tech company that wants to hire a dozen IT workers from India?

    I’m assuming I’m working with Americans. Clearly, I could always import a third-worlder to do housekeeping at a fraction of the cost of my value, but realize this generates large externalities born mainly by others. That goes for sub-contractors. I’m an old fashioned libertarian, like Milton Friedman, Hoppe.

    I think the modern libertarians are insecure about their morality, think they need open borders to highlight they help the underdog. They don’t realize it’s not sustainable.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    I’m an old fashioned libertarian, like Milton Friedman, Hoppe.
     
    "You can have a welfare state or open borders; you can't have both."
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  194. @eric
    I'm assuming I'm working with Americans. Clearly, I could always import a third-worlder to do housekeeping at a fraction of the cost of my value, but realize this generates large externalities born mainly by others. That goes for sub-contractors. I'm an old fashioned libertarian, like Milton Friedman, Hoppe.

    I think the modern libertarians are insecure about their morality, think they need open borders to highlight they help the underdog. They don't realize it's not sustainable.

    I’m an old fashioned libertarian, like Milton Friedman, Hoppe.

    “You can have a welfare state or open borders; you can’t have both.”

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  195. @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    "short selling companies that have diversity/women as CEOs".
    https://qz.com/566977/companies-with-more-women-directors-generate-a-36-higher-return-on-equity/

    Well, if That is where the value added exists way I shall bet accordingly. But I sincerely doubt the methods of this study.

    However, I work in trading. It’s completely about making money. But there are very few blacks. No need to wonder why.

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  196. @Dumbo
    This so-called "shared economy" really isn't.

    Those are not really "tech companies" but middlemen with a cool website/app.

    Uber can be practical and cheaper than cabs but I hear they don't pay so well their drivers.

    On the other hand, I think there are more white drivers, as for some reason taxi drivers in most Western cities are African or Pakis (I wonder why? Just as nail saloons are exclusively Asian).

    AirBNB is also disappointing when you have problems with a host or a tenant, basically they disappear, their customer service sucks and you have to sort out the situation yourself.

    Not a fan of this "new economy", although over-regulation is also a problem.

    Anyway, I think anyone should be able to carry passengers for a charge, I don't really see what is the problem.

    Many years before Uber, in many Latin American countries some cities had "illegal vans" which actually were in many cases better than the "legal" transportation offered (buses and taxis). But they were forbidden because, well, I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.

    I guess no one really likes competition, no matter what Adam Smith said.

    Adam Smith was well aware that tradesmen hate competition and will conspire against it wherever and however they can.

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  197. @Steve Sailer
    A friend of mine drives from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica every morning for work, so he picks up an Uber passenger, which he finds very informative for conversation.

    I think that’s facilitated by a relatively new feature, where you can tell Uber where you’re heading, and get ride requests going in the same direction. When I was doing it, they didn’t have that, which was annoying. E.g., late one Saturday night, decided to accept a ride request from Hoboken, which is about 20 minutes south of where I live. I figured it would be the first of several short rides in that town, from the train station from Manhattan to people’s apartments, and there’d probably be surge pricing as people got out of bars.

    And bear in mind that — at least back then — you had no idea where someone was heading until you picked them up. So I picked up a woman who happened to be heading 40 minutes further south. I didn’t want to give anyone else a ride by her, because they might have been heading even further south. So, I end up driving an hour home unpaid.

    Glad to hear they’ve apparently fixed that.

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  198. @Ron Unz
    Despite the seeming plausibility of this "HBD-informed analysis," I don't think it's correct...

    Late last year, the Naked Capitalism website ran a very long multi-part series on Uber's economics by a seemingly well-informed financial analyst that seemed quite persuasive to me:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-one-understanding-ubers-bleak-operating-economics.html

    The conclusion was that as a business model, Uber was basically a scam aimed at the ignorant and the gullible, closer to Theranos than to Google or Apple, but hoping to become a monopoly before people figured it out.

    (1) Uber relied upon the ignorant drivers not realizing that a considerable portion of their pay was actually gross rather than net since they were responsible for all the vehicle purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses, not to mention gasoline.

    (2) Uber was using its many billions of capital raised to massively subsidize ride costs, losing lots of money on every trip, but hoping they could quickly put all competing taxicab companies out of business and become a local monopoly in lots of cities, after which they would be able to raise prices through the roof while squeezing drivers, and thereby become profitable.

    (3) Uber was using its "high-tech image" as a means of imply ignoring all local laws they didn't like, thereby giving themselves an edge over "boring" old taxi competitors. And these flouted laws weren't just the HBD-related ones.

    Obviously, if you're able to trick your drivers into working for uneconomically low wages and while also expend billions of capital further subsidizing ride costs and ignoring all the taxi-laws you didn't like, you'll be able to charge less than regular taxis and pick up lots of business.

    But supposedly, Uber's long-term viability depended upon rates eventually doubling or tripling, which would have made them more expensive than current taxis.

    I think their longterm viability was really predicated on the development of self-driving cars. But Google and a few major car manufacturers are working on that too.

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  199. @LondonBob
    No but for some reason I am concerned they have assaulted defenceless women.

    Correct, the Knowledge does work as a form of IQ test to ensure a better sort of person drives you around rather than someone just off the plane from Lahore. GPS doesn't work well in London though, the rare occasions I have used Uber, booked by friends I was with, they have invariably taken the wrong and slower direct route. A local cabby will be able to, off the top of his head, go the quicker back route. Also using the postcode for location can be quite wrong with the number of small streets clustered in confined areas.

    No but for some reason I am concerned they have assaulted defenceless women.

    Lying whores:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10160029/Cab-driver-falsely-accused-of-rape-saved-by-his-phone-app.html

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  200. @Whiskey
    It was a dominance display. Pure and simple. That's the future of the West, importing the sexual dynamics of the Third World. Because tingles. Why do you think women love love love Game of Thrones? The icky murder-rape scenes are dominance displays. Women are HARD WIRED to respond to this; its why all sane societies limit female sexuality to prevent a race to the bottom in dominance.

    As a White man you were offended by this retelling. You don't like the humiliation because you rationally figure it could and would descend upon you eventually. Women love this; first they like humiliation and submitting, in preparation or during sex; and secondly find men dominating and abusing other men arousing. AGain, hard wired.

    There is no end to the ways in which women are the natural and eternal enemy of White men; simply because the two groups have hostile aims; the first the scene described above (because abuse and humiliation is arousing) and the second avoiding said humiliation and abuse.

    When (as often happens in the UK) some poor soul with “learning difficulties” (who would have been in an institution 50 years ago, but now is “cared for” in the “community”) is found tortured and killed for amusement by his neighbours in that same community, there are almost always women involved in the torture/abuse.

    This recent story has enough material for a whole conference – (presumably) Muslim male, three white female followers, one white male vicvtim.

    http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/15356753._Dark_Ages__torture_campaign___gang_of_four_found_guilty_over_death_of_vulnerable_man/?ref=mrb&lp=19#comments-anchor

    ” A sadistic gang have been convicted of a campaign of “Dark Ages” abuse against a vulnerable father-of-two, including forcing him to eat one of his own testicles, which eventually led to his death.

    Jimmy Prout, 45, thought the group were his friends but they turned on him and eventually dumped his lifeless body on wasteland just 100m from his home.

    Ann Corbett, 26, and Zahid Zaman, 43, were convicted of murder, having previously admitted perverting the course of justice.

    Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, having also admitted perverting the course of justice.

    Zaman, who uses a wheelchair and was the leader of the group, was described as vengeful and controlling and was determined to get his own back after he thought Mr Prout had been involved in a theft against him.

    Mr Prout was also posting pictures of his injuries on his own Facebook account at the time, with words such as “My bodie hurt” and “My sholder hurts”. ”

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  201. @Jack D
    "Sexual assault" and "rape" are not at all the same thing, though feminists like to conflate the two. I'll eat my hat if there are actually 3 minicab rapes every single night in London. The article lists about 2 dozen actual rapes from all over the UK over some period of years.

    If you read the story, many of the drivers were not even minicab drivers, just people pretending to be cab drivers.

    You'll also note that may of the women were passed out drunk. In the Muslim way of looking at things, getting into a car alone with a strange man while passed out drunk is just asking for it. Some of the cases also involve women without the money to pay the fare and incidents extremely late at night . Now of course rape is not justified in any of such cases but these women are hardly innocent lambs - at a minimum they were stupid.

    ” In the Muslim way of looking at things, getting into a car alone with a strange man while passed out drunk is just asking for it.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2844528/Taxi-driver-three-friends-sentenced-total-68-years-gang-rape-drunk-woman-passenger.html

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  202. @Stebbing Heuer
    What colours does it come in?

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I would assume it’s a classy, modern light brown, or close to that. Nu-male Mu-Latte, we might call it.

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  203. @Achmed E. Newman
    That sounds like what one would read at Zerohedge, and I have no reason to disagree with that. It's .com bubble 2.0, but only the big guys are allowed this time. No pets.com and dogpile, Lycos, and Altavista this go around.

    There’s a lot of trash (“unicorns”) waiting for the payout this time too.

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  204. Ride share is another version of this. We have been able to get our kid through college without the expense and hassle of a car. He lives close to campus so he can walk or ride to class. He does not have parking cost. He is not spending money on maintenance, insurance, or repairs. The only thing he needs are 3 hour rides home but $10 gas money and a phone app can fix that. It has been a bit of an inconvenience for him but it toughens him up.

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  205. @Kevin Michael Grace
    Philip Glass's music is not atonal; it is polytonal. Glass is a national treasure, and he should be cherished at this site, for he is the man who put paid to the tyranny of the serialists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YF1Q20aexE

    This still kind of frightens me even today:

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  206. @Dave Pinsen
    Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who backed Etsy, blogged once that women were making a living off of Etsy. It turned out that only something like 50 out of a million+ sellers were, and it lowered incomes overall for crafts, because it made crafters compete globally.

    LOL–cafepress claims that some of its sellers are clearing $100,000+ a year. I’d love to see the precise number. At a 5% royalty rate on products you sell through them, that would require quite a lot of volume.

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  207. Found this funny when somebody posted a link elsewhere about Uber.

    Seems everybody is trying to break in on the driving for Uber “side hustle”.

    Even this guy, a down on his luck 30+ year ex-porn star from the 80′s now begging for shekels so he can buy a new Uber mobile.

    A number of you also asked if there was anything that could be done to help Tom today. For those who haven’t heard the podcast, (spoiler alert…) Tom is now driving for Uber but has had to rent a vehicle as he hasn’t been able to afford a down payment to buy a car. He’s working long hours on the road to save up, but it’s a very slow process.

    SFW but the rest of the website is NSFW.

    http://www.therialtoreport.com/2017/03/19/tom-byron-2/

    Apparently this clown still lives in the LA valley, so you never know Steve you might run into this guy if you ever have car trouble and need a ride.

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  208. @Whiskey
    It was a dominance display. Pure and simple. That's the future of the West, importing the sexual dynamics of the Third World. Because tingles. Why do you think women love love love Game of Thrones? The icky murder-rape scenes are dominance displays. Women are HARD WIRED to respond to this; its why all sane societies limit female sexuality to prevent a race to the bottom in dominance.

    As a White man you were offended by this retelling. You don't like the humiliation because you rationally figure it could and would descend upon you eventually. Women love this; first they like humiliation and submitting, in preparation or during sex; and secondly find men dominating and abusing other men arousing. AGain, hard wired.

    There is no end to the ways in which women are the natural and eternal enemy of White men; simply because the two groups have hostile aims; the first the scene described above (because abuse and humiliation is arousing) and the second avoiding said humiliation and abuse.

    I was under the impression that Game of Thrones, like most pseud0-medieval high fantasy (as opposed to the more approachable Harry Potter world), had a primarily male audience.

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  209. @Jack D
    You're worried that the minicab drivers will rape you?

    They have uber in London now.

    Memorizing all the streets of London is call "the Knowledge". Drivers practice for months on a scooter before they take their test. It seems to me to be a great illustration of how technology can make some skills worthless. If I buy a $100 GPS (or just use google maps on my phone) that's probably 90% as good as the Knowledge even though I just stepped off the plane from Lahore.

    I was told by a (non-black) cab driver that GPS is a bit problematic in the most built up areas, I asked as he had one on dash but wasn’t using it.

    The thing about the Knowledge is it’s not just a mental map. It’s also the knowledge of how to get from A to B most effectively. A satnav just blindly follows a route.

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  210. @Steve Sailer
    A friend of mine drives from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica every morning for work, so he picks up an Uber passenger, which he finds very informative for conversation.

    This is where Uber could really work for the drivers – taking a passenger while doing a trip you were going to do anyway.

    And. . .

    Different passengers doing the same route or the same person?

    If it was the same person regularly they could just make it a cash transaction and cut Uber out completely.

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  211. @Prof. Woland
    The expectation now from cab drivers is that you will give them a tip par with a waiter or waitress. I suspect that the economics is much like what has happened with restaurants where the drivers eek out a minimum wage for driving, on a good day, and then they see what they can pick up on from their fares. The problem is why do you tip, unless driven by guilt, for someone who is just doing what he is supposed to?

    The last cab I hailed before finally using Uber was in Las Vegas. It was about $40 which seemed expensive but when you pay more than just a few piasters, especially when it is on the company dime or a write off, you use a credit card. You swipe your card and the next thing the monitor in the back seat asks for is a tip. Check if you want to pay 10%, 20% (which is what I normally tip for great service in a restaurant), etc. That means I ended up paying $45-50 for what Uber would have charged $10-20 for. I resented it and still do. Great service is not some illiterate driver doing a stop and jerk ride in car with 400,000 miles on it and 10 air fresheners.

    I don't begrudge taxi drivers for wanting to make a living. I do sort of resent the foreigners for taking the jobs that would normally be reserved for ex-cons and the disfunctionals that any society has but they have literally priced themselves out of the business. If it gets too bad, they can buy a Hyundai and work for Uber too.

    At least in NYC, cabbies make all their money on tips from what I understand: the “financialization” of the medallion market means that they’re not even making minimum wage without tips. So yeah: you should tip 20% for even okay service, because otherwise the hack makes no money.

    When you use a tip-based service, you tip accordingly. Unless you’re a jerk, that is.

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  212. @Bill P
    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let's say they give it a name like "Schlong's", and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an "independent" contractor equals cash+freedom.

    In the meanwhile, the Schlong company could drive all the licensed hot dog vendors out of business and conquer metro hot dog markets one by one.

    This would be celebrated by the investment class, who would hail the CEO - the big schlong so to speak - as a veritable genius who is ushering in the inevitable permanent triumph of progress.

    You know, what surprises me is that none of these tech geniuses has yet made a foray into the hot dog business. Basically the same principles apply. You could have some edgy-hipster hot dog start up, let’s say they give it a name like “Schlong’s”, and just ignore the local regulations while offering erstwhile gourmet weiners served up by clueless young folks who think being an “independent” contractor equals cash+freedom.

    I assume this is tongue in cheek, but I think the reason that tech firms would stay clear of food products and services is that there is strict liability all along the chain of production/service for defective food products that cause injury. Then think about entrusting the financial health of Schlongs to every stoned hipster with an iPhone.

    Not even Silicon Valley wants to tangle with the Plaintiff’s Bar, whom you must assume is looking with baited breath at those Billions of venture capital dollars and scheming to take a lion’s share for itself.

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  213. “(Driving a taxi) was dangerous because sometimes the dispatcher would send us to like the real bad neighborhoods. The dispatcher would just throw you in there, to the wolves,” he said.

    He’s right, and they would even give you push-back for requesting a call to the riders inside when it was still dark out in crappy neighborhoods. They insinuated that you were either lazy or a wuss for not walking to the door. It was hilarious to hear pleas from dispatchers begging drivers to post up for rides in the Hood on nights that the rest of the city was slow. Those were the nights we’d run into each other at the diner and have a chuckle at the dispatchers expense. Taxi drivers are still private contractors with a lot of latitude in denying service to anybody deemed unsavory, regardless of management.

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  214. He is homosexual not gay.

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  215. Exactly.

    It’s like the words: Honest Hillary. Does not compute.

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  216. @mikeInThe716
    Most Uber drivers are probably ignorant about their Total Cost of Operation. That said, the taxi business in upstate and Western NY locales was (and is) a corrupt cesspool. Its demise is not a bad thing.

    One NY gem: the reimbursement cabbies got for ferrying Medicaid patients to and from appointments.

    Also, the average Uber driver's ignorance regarding TCO is present in many who sign 60 month+ car notes.

    One NY gem: the reimbursement cabbies got for ferrying Medicaid patients to and from appointments.

    It’s much cheaper for the state than letting the Medicaid patients abuse the ambulance system.

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  217. @Tiny Duck
    I don't see how uber is legal

    Your powers of perception are unmeasurable.

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