Uber is here to stay

5 minute read Published:


I love riding with Uber, but mainly because I can. Taxi services in Poland, where I live, are rather cheap. Still, Uber is much cheaper and better than other similar services in the area. In addition, most of the drivers speak English. How can a taxi company have such good service and still be at a more comfortable price level?

I give the honour to capitalism. Actually, Uber is a real-life euphemism for capitalism. And that is not bad thing. From a consumer perspective, it helps bring down the incredible high taxi prices and makes the service more accessible to everyone. From the worker’s perspective, customers become more accessible, there will larger base potential customers because of lower prices as well as being able to work hours that fit one’s needs.

Uber might not be perfect, especially not in is sometimes dubious practices to avoid the local law in whatever country it operates in, but it is a vision. With programs such as “Hell” and “Greyball”, they are surely not ethical or consumer oriented practices.

When I say Uber is here to stay, I could as likely list one of the other similar services like Lyft and Airbnb. All of them are similar in that they are so different in the way we think about working. Please note that I am only talking about the ones that are the drivers, I do not know much about the coders or the ones that are working for the service departments, and thus I cannot speak for those positions. It should be noted, however, that Uber’s internal workforce has faced difficulties and negative experiences, even sexual harassment in the case of Susan Fowler.

The engineer that previously worked for Uber, Susan Fowler, wrote in her blog:

“It seemed like every manager was fighting their peers and attempting to undermine their direct supervisor so that they could have their direct supervisor’s job,” Ms. Fowler wrote. “No attempts were made by these managers to hide what they were doing: They boasted about it in meetings, told their direct reports about it, and the like.”

This is no doubt bad and companies that condone such behaviour should be punished.

While I am using Uber as an example, I am talking about the new way of doing business, such as driving for Uber, with the power of either your phone on your computer.

While part time jobs might seem like a scary concept, having one might bring economic stability to either a family, a couple or an individual being unemployed or simply have the ability or need to work extra hours. Not only is it not as a big commitment as getting a job somewhere you must relocate to, but you can work almost where ever you are.

As I don’t think it can ever replace a stable job as either a full-time employee or as a successful freelancer, part time jobs has become increasingly more prevalent in many sectors of work. Primary sectors, where workforce can sometimes be expendable, has seen a influx of part time workers, especially in the oil sector. This is very visible for the average Norwegian whose news primarily consist of how the oil industry is coming along (slight irony implied, but not much).

So, what is the downsides to such companies as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb? They may take advantage of you and they could offer you lower wages than what you should have. What they cannot do is to force you to work more than you can or want. This is the big difference between the traditional way of thinking how it is to work for a company and how it can possibly become in the future. Not only do they pay you for what you work (without doing a worklog yourself), but they don’t have to force you to work within a specific schedule. This offers massive freedom to both employer and employee. If Uber needs more drivers on the road, just offer a bigger profit for the drivers. Boom: Capitalism!

You might think that the way the market is evolving is bad. That is a valid concern and I do see the many opposing views. You may be concerned about the laissez-faire capitalistic ideas that takes on society, or the corporatism for that matter. The truth is, no matter where you are, corporations (and sometimes governments) are trying to get a monopoly. What you should do is to vote with your wallet. Pay for those services that you like best, both in terms of price, service and availability.

The point is, people need flexibility. Also, less people are seeing the value in a degree in elite universities. That is completely valid if you want to be something within IT, apart from maybe high-class security and similar jobs. Scientific and higher-level academia might also be still out of reach for those who do not want to go to a university and get a degree.

On the bright side though, if you have time, you can always try to drive for Uber while studying.

Don’t do that. You’re going to crash.

This was first sent as a newsletter. If you want to have these every Friday, click here!