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Tech Cocktail San Francisco

Lessons from Ride Service Startup Uber

Uber lessons

Uber is one of the startups making immense waves across the country and across the globe. A company founded just a few years ago has presented a completely new business model that’s shaking up the taxi and private ride industry. Uber is changing how millions of people find rides in cities, how long it takes to get those rides, and it’s all happening with a mobile app.

Uber was cofounded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, Kalanick being the current CEO. The startup has totally changed the game by providing consumers with a new, better way of finding private rides in the city. Passengers no longer have to reserve a ride with a taxi or face the hassle of trying to find some other sort of transportation if the taxi doesn’t work out. Now, with a text or through the app, people can call for a ride on Uber and have one there in a matter of minutes. Not only that, but they can often get the ride for a fraction of the price that it costs other people to use a traditional taxi. It’s so easy and efficient that it has made a lasting mark wherever it’s launched. However, because of how much it’s shaking up the industry, there has been a lot of pushback from traditional taxi organizations.

Taxi drivers and taxi organizations have sought to stop Uber from spreading and expanding to new cities and have tried to get it out of cities in which it’s already established. Some feel that Uber has an unfair advantage because it’s not being treated as a typical taxi organization, but they feel like it should be. Others think it’s unsafe and taking advantage of customers. Others are simply losing revenue and want to get it back. Whatever it may be, there have been a lot of complaints against Uber, yet it’s continuing to grow at unprecedented rates. Its growth and success have illustrated many things, among them that a big data platform combined with mobile apps is a force and power to be reckoned with.

For all that Uber has done, much of its success comes back to an extremely powerful and effective app that’s better at finding private rides than any other app or taxi in the world. This ability comes from dynamic big data use. Big data allows the app to gather and analyze the information it needs to connect the right drivers with the right passengers at the right time. Mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in today’s smartphone and tablet-driven world. People use them all the time, yet companies still don’t place the amount of importance on app development that they should. It’s not the computer that comes first anymore, it’s mobile first and then the computer. In other words, it’s the app and then the full website. Uber is one of the companies that has shown that mobile is not just the future, it’s the now as well.

Uber’s amazing success also illustrates another important point — social media can have an enormous impact and should be used and not ignored. In many cities, Uber has faced challenges and difficulties in entering and also in staying put because lawmakers and organizations have fought against them. Uber, however, has been extremely savvy in its use of social media and has used it to make a difference in the cities. Because of the klout that Uber users carry, they are able to use social media to make a difference and truly impact lawmakers’ decisions and keep the company operating.

Along with everything else that Uber is doing well – business model, perseverance, important product – they are also showing that mobile and social media are keys to current and future success and that one of the main drivers (no pun intended) behind that is big data technology.

Want to read more about Uber’s big data? Check out the “Metrics” chapter in Tech Cocktail’s book, “Startup Mixology.” 

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About the Author

“I’ve been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I’ve started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.” – Rick DelGado

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