I am not an UBER fan. I think they are the unacceptable face of capitalism. A bunch of Californian rich kids using their MBAs to make money by launching a company that defies the law of the countries they operate in, puts workers out of job, puts customers at risk and exploits the drivers they make their money from.
I would like to see them fined out of existence and arrested if they set foot in the EU.
Like I said, I’m not a fan.
But it seems that where I see a company driven by greed and hiding behind the conceit of being a technology service provider and not a taxi service, many of my colleagues see an exemplar of the digital age, a company using technology to disrupt a controlled market to the advantage of the consumer. They even have a word for it: UBERIZATION. Many of them are excitedly looking for strategies to drive the UBERIZATION of other industries: retail, health care, travel, for example. My response is that I won’t recommend my clients to follow the amoral example of a company that is in the process of getting itself banned in countries around the world. If they have to recommend a “digital disrupter” then go with AirBnB. They’re not perfect but at least they’re legal.
Of course I’ve despised UBER for a while now (see “How to stop The UBER invasion of Europe” back in October 2014).
What prompts me to come back to the topic is that, when I flew into Geneva last night, the taxi drivers were on strike in protest at UBER.
The Canton of Geneva banned UBER at the end of 2015 but it seems the service continues and has spread to other Swiss cities who have not yet banned them.
I hope the rest of Switzerland follow’s Geneva’s example and cleans UBER out of Switzerland. Maybe Switzerland will then be seen as a leader in regulating the excesses of digital disruption.