airline points on uber? (these are surprisingly sticky with consumers)
uber exclusivity deals or packages at hotels?
I expect to see more bundles of things with uber involved.
Uber's success has been about evolving a core product in an emerging category. Product-market fit or whatever you like to call that kind of narrow, aggressive focus. As little "hair" as possible. Market share. Simply defined product. Simply defined (and bull-headed) strategy. Basically, make uber a significant mode of transport (again!).
Expedia is all about maximizing revenue from the existing mess of travel product categories. Finding ways of inserting themselves between consumers and: hotels, flights, rentals, tours.... Basically, people are going places and doing things. Get expedia a piece of it.
Very different approaches.
If uber starts to retain customers with miles or try to diversify revenue sources, I think it'd be a bad sign. But, who knows.
The cynic in me says that you can juice Uber with a bunch of these tie-ins, box out competitors by creating these partnerships, and IPO at a valuation based on aspirational performance of these partnerships that would make most people happy.
(btw, thanks for the friendly disagreement. Much appreciated)
Watch the international space closely, uber had to retrench itself from a few international markets and it seems like those decisions may get revisited.
Uber is losing money and can probably only continue losing this amount of money for a few years, he needs to make sure Uber doesn't go bankrupt in the short term.
Trying to do something like getting the return leg of a ticket changed, resulted in multiple dropped calls, talking to people with poor English skills (all their support is outsourced) and even getting told that all their computers crashed so they can't do anything. Then when I finally did get through to someone, I was quoted $2,500 to change the date of a $400 ticket.
A simple Google search of Expedia customer service complaints reveals that I'm not even close to being alone.
I suppose their CEO calculated that the savings from having dirt cheap customer service exceeds the losses they suffer from alienating customers with miserable support. That might be true, but I still don't think it's a good way to run a company. We'll see what it entails for Uber.
Worse than BookIt? I used Expedia for my honeymoon but didn't require any changes. I gave them two chances to rectify issues with other travel and they blew it both times. I won't book with BookIt nor Expedia any more. Sometimes booking directly with hotels & airlines end up being cheaper. I saved $50 booking directly with a hotel, so sometimes they are not cheaper and you are just paying for their sales commission.
Seems like an excellent move if they want to keep Uber as is. Bad customer service, and lack of care for their clientele (drivers & riders).
Expedia has moved to an agency model since but the damage was done. Booking managed to get far more inventory, capitalise on more search/PPC traffic and blow past Expedia.
Wonder if he's going to make a similar kind of mistake and misread the transportation market.
Props to a fellow originally Iranian though :-)
I think this is more about $UBER IPO. Stabilize the ship, smooth relations with investors, and start shopping to underwriters. Expect to see road show by Q2 2018.
There's no need for the candidate to be a visionary or meddle drastically with something that's already working extraordinarily well. That part is largely done - the Uber machine is mature and chugging along.
A seasoned operator needs to come in to provide PR cover, put in some basic organizational guardrails and rebuild the executive ranks to get the company IPO ready. Hiring a CFO is probably top priority as well as getting PR back on track. Those two moves alone would suppress external distractions and start the IPO process by having someone working on it full-time (CFO).
Let's see if Dara can pull this off.
When the opposite of "rock the boat" is in power, don't be surprised if you get an irrelevant cruise ship. They run out of money soon, and nothing will change that short of a mass layoff or raising their prices above taxis. Then what?
They needed that autonomous driving tech. And I don't see a money guy pulling that off.
Remember how Marissa Meyer turned out? People ended up saying "Well, nothing could've saved Yahoo." But you could've said the same thing about Apple at its nadir. Same with Uber.
Uber is a real opportunity. Kalanick is unpopular, but he got Uber to where it is. So how certain are you that it was a good idea to kick the founder in exchange for a money guy? Given those options, I'd bet on the unpopular founder every time.
If Uber wants to be a player in autonomous vehicles they have to become profitable enough to survive long enough to realize that goal. Kalanick's plan was always a pipe dream. Driverless cars just aren't going to be ready in time.
Companies can raise funds if people think it'll succeed.
Uber is very different. Their burn was $991m in Q4 2016 and growing.
And Lyft got to where it is with no Kalanick. (... actually, does anyone know off the top of their heads, besides Lyft and maybe Uber employees, who founded Lyft and whether they're still in charge?)
The myth of the founder-hero who is the only person who can run a company usually has little evidence in its favor, but in this case it has explicit evidence against it. Lyft as a service is basically indistinguishable from Uber in markets where it serves both, possibly slightly better. And if Lyft acquires Uber, the two services get to stop competing on price, buying them plenty of time to figure out the self-driving tech (which, I agree, they need), and the combined company will succeed easily, no Kalanick needed.
(Also, I think "unpopular" is a pretty low-information description of why Kalanick got forced out. It could mean anything from "people on the internet don't like them" to "regulators don't like them" to "investors don't like them" to "employees don't like them," each of which have very different impacts on the company, and comparing an unpopular founder in one sense to another company's unpopular founder in another sense may not be meaningful.)
Also, how would Lyft ever buy Uber? Even if Uber and Lyft get 50/50 market share, which I think is impossible, you need to be way larger to buy out another company.
You are absolutely right that the TK/Uber combo going head-on against existing laws is what made ride hailing a reality for millions of consumers, but unless the pioneer has an air tight go-to market strategy to create and maintain dominance of the market, historically, the odds tilt strongly in favor of the second mover, third mover, nth mover (i.e. fast followers) achieving market dominance.
Facebook, the market leader was launched in 2004, MySpace in 2003 and there was Friendster in 2002 founded by Jonathan Abrams.
Zuckerberg learnt how not to run a social network from watching the mistakes of Friendster and MySpace before him.
Don't know where this 'crap pay' trope is coming from, might be different in different markets.
"The real winner here is Yahoo, which is receiving far more value for this asset than it is worth and has also managed to halve its exposure to liabilities that it should be fully on the hook for. ... It is not difficult to still see upside in the Yahoo share price. Marissa Mayer may have been terrible at executing on a digital ecosystem, but she seems to be a great salesperson."
Why are you giving her credit for that? Nearly all of Yahoo's value was its investment in Alibaba (which happened years earlier). If anybody deserves credit for Yahoo's recent exit, it's Jack Ma.
You could argue that the damage was done, that Kalanick screwed up the company so badly that nothing could save it at this point, so you may as well try to cannibalize it for value. But the best investors know better.
Let it sink in: they're going to run out of money. What then?
If they really need to jettison more expensive parts of the business they can sell off their autonomous unit and their VTOL investments, along with a ton of other fat they can trim.
Your viewpoint does not seem connected with reality IMHO.
Why is this a thing? Imagine all the useful things those billions could do. Feeding and housing all the homeless people in the USA, for example.
Users won't like the changes. And Lyft is waiting with open arms and promo deals. That 6.6B cash is only impressive because of their user base and fleet.
Drivers might be the first to suffer. They'll probably feel the effects -- less pay -- before the users see price increases. So if Uber is about to switch to moneymaking mode, their fleet may become unreliable soon.
Uber's model of survival isn't exactly self-driving ambitions, it's more about utilising their asset sheet effectively. That's why benchmark could be so eager to get a CFO - someone needs to vouch and stand behind the path to Uber's profitability. Right now, the only person who's left who can stand behind it is Travis, and he lost a lot of cred. Recent rumours about softbank investment might suggest that Travis thinks that this model can be extended even further at the cost of the dilution, and even greater market scale could be achieved (along with his own personal desire to lead on with that deal, possibly), but investors would rather not play another round of uncertainty and ambitious spending and would rather cash out quick. Also after an IPO the company would have a much better chance at leveraging a simple loan/bond to continue growth, as because the rate of its growth would still most likely exceed the interest rates.
If both companies push for profitability, then the market slows to the pace they both push it while remaining profitable.
If however only one company pushes for profitability now and the other has investors willing to fund growth for the foreseeable future we could see one emerging as a winner.
Personally, barring an economic downturn on the horizon, it's foolish to go public now if their competition doesn't also go public.
Because there is still plenty of growth opportunities across their various products globally, they can get at least 1-2 more private funding rounds before they truly need to turn to public markets for funding. They should take that money while it's still there.
Like Amazon? Because they used to break rules left, right, and centre. Their competitive advantage, in their early years, was ignoring tax law. The difference was that Bezos was smart enough to hedge against the day he'd have to comply, and to diversify.
Most online/catalog companies don't collect sales tax and leave it up to buyers to pay usage tax [which is legal absent a physical nexus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quill_Corp._v._North_Dakota]. This remains the case. Amazon just got pressured into collecting because they're so big and have affiliate sales programs.
Can they raise rates enough to get to break even before IPO? Maybe. But that would drastically reduce pressure on their competitors. Lyft is growing fast. Uber can really only justify their current valuation if they end up with no real competitors and can extract monopoly rents.
So I think their CEO needs to do a lot more than stabilize things. They either need to find a way to make the current business work much better (something I'm skeptical exists) or to drastically change the business to one where they have more of a moat.
My guess, though, is that they have run out of "greater fools" , and that the public market would realize that Uber, at least as currently constituted, is not a high-margin tech company but a low-margin discount taxi dispatch company.
They're currently far and away the market leader but that's a dangerous place to be. Lots of people want them to fail - both for competitive reasons and because they just hate the evil guy at the top.
Competition (backed by huge names like GM) is healthy in some markets for both riders and drivers, and they haven't been able to make a go of it in others. On top of that the autonomous space alone is going to be a war zone for the next decade and casualties will happen.
I'm sure big names such as Uber and Tesla are hoping for that outcome. Personally, I'll believe it when I see it. For now, both autonomous and electric vehicles are still looking like technologies with great PR videos but also quite a few fundamental problems with no credible solutions yet.
I wouldn't be surprised if Uber was aiming for a big IPO before too much of that reality invades those PR videos, particularly if the financial foundations of their current business model are as shaky as some reports have suggested.
And there are already examples of other companies making lots of batteries. LG is making them for the Bolt.
There are a lot of indicators that driverless cars arnt comming any time soon, and it seems like one of the few things that would work as a get out of jail free card for uber.
In any case, a market that is (supposedly) about to be rocked by major techtonic shifts is no place to make "sure bets" about the future.
Transport may be going autonomous, but it isn't there yet. It won't be affected until full autonomy goes live, and the network of drivers becomes obsolete.
It will be 5, 10, 15 years before technology, laws, etc. are mature enough. Meanwhile, uber needs to be the dominant ride-sharing service. That might be even harder if they're being too clever and thinking beyond the next couple of years.
I think a lot of people were surprised at just how much inventory was out there and how much the merchant model hindered going after that extreme long tail.
I think Expedia was hoping the hotel industry would modernize and consolidate way faster than it actually did (remember, this was the gogo 90s where the entire world was hopping onto the information superhighway). What they eventually discovered was that it's hard to underestimate just how much hoteliers hate technology, even when you take into account this effect.
Little known fact: Expedia was actually close to buying out Booking.com and switching them over to an merchant model buy Booking.com got cold feet and got bought by Priceline for a pittance just a few years later. If Expedia had owned the biggest merchant provider in the US + Europe, there's a fair chance today no agency competitor could have stood up against them and the entire world would be still on the merchant model.
Absolutely not! Expedia has the hotels.com brand. They are doing very very well by all metrics.
hotels.com and booking.com are about 50/50 market share globally. hotels is bigger in the USA, booking is bigger in the EU.
Historically, the USA hotels are massive chains whereas the EU hotels are smaller and independents. That's why they respectively started with the merchant and agency model.
Source: Insider data.
And yes, failing to kill booking.com when Expedia was a clear market leader is a huge mistake indeed.
If you consider only OTAs, this is about right.
Agency is where OTA acts as an agent between customer and lodging supplier. The OTA takes a fee and/or percent cut of the booking. Usually the customer pays the hotel directly upon checkin, and the hotel in turn pays the OTA.
Booking.com uses the Agency model and they dominate Europe. Expedia is strong in North America and struggles to get a foothold in other regions.
Expedia now uses the agency model and merchant model. Europeans understandably do not prefer to pay for the hotel stay at the time of booking.
There are more nuances, but that is basically how it works.
I do not understand the obviousness of "understandably". Seems like a likely culture difference. Explain?
What Booking.com is really excellent for is that it just works and that it takes away a lot of the stress when traveling. Just by filtering on 8+ -rated reviews and by your desired nightly pay and you're sure to get what you want, no hidden gotchas, no anything.
These are all the reasons to just avoid booking.com. The whole site is like a shady used car salesman - for example returning search results that say -"You just missed it", then why tell me about it? Or "5 people looking at this right now", seriously who cares? Do people really liked to feel pressured? Or how booking.com returns properties with the red "sold out!" in search queries for hotel rooms? Booking.com is one of the most miserable user experiences on the internet and the UI? What a total 1990s looking shit show that is. And of course the reviews seem dubious as you mentioned.
I've been burned by them more times than I care to admit and prepaying means you are stuck with it.
Had I taken a closer look at the patterns of reviews (as I've learned to do with Yelp), I would have realized the preponderance of fakes. Ratings are all over the place. Numeric scores are inconsistent with comments. Vast majority of 8+ reviews are one-time reviewers, and a bad review is immediately followed by multiple high reviews the same week.
In the Booking.com case, the primary photo is phony (a different property -- room is wrong configuration). Many reviews refer to nonexistent features. The few negative reviews paralleled my experience very well (this place was a D-I-V-E, by far the worst I've stayed in anywhere in North America).
Disclosure: I work for Booking.com albeit neither in the hotels facing department nor customer service. Managed fraud ops and security ops and eng years ago. Do not speak for the company.
Their search by map or whatever is called it's actually pretty handy. It keeps the filters you have already selected on (which is a big thing in this day and age) and you can "travel" through the general area you're interested in staying, showing the prices on map-pin mouse-over, if I remember correctly. I tried doing this on GMaps directly and the experience was clearly inferior (no clear way to filter for price and rating, a lot less available properties), or maybe Google has another travel-like interface of which I don't know anything about.
I admit, there are tons of dark-patterns, some of which you mentioned, but I got used to them and learned to ignore them, the same as I do with online ads.
Disclosure: booking.com employee.
That said, I don't think same industry experience is that critical.
Expedia went public in 1999 , when Dara Khosrowshahi was working for an Expedia competitor: IAC. He didn't join Expedia until 2005, when IAC acquired Expedia .
Maybe I'm missing something?
Americans in general likely care as much about who is running Uber, as they do about who is running Expedia or Priceline. Which is to say, it simply does not matter to 99.9% of people and it never will.
Hell, I hate Uber's abuse of regulatory structures e.g. here in DC and I still use Uber.
Again, I'm only one data point, but my usage of Expedia has exponentially fallen since the aforementioned CEO took over. This obviously not a decision to make Uber a better service. This is a bid to sell Uber to a bigger fool on the wall street.
I have no confidence in Travis-less Uber. The war with private car ownership is over. Private cars won.
This new guy is an outspoken trump critic.
Meg is a republican, and ran as one for california governor
#deleteUber was started and accelerated partially by assumed associations between Uber and Trump
I wonder if the politics had any influence in the decision to pick him over meg.
Plus, given Uber's issues, being a woman had to be a big plus for Whitman.
Seems to me that if she had been offered the job, she'd be set up for failure. I'm glad they went with the other one.
The thesis of the article is that corporations are replacing the role of churches as the moral voice of society. Interestingly, this applies on both sides of the spectrum: both liberal and conservative corporations are becoming more and more outspoken on issues.
Two days later, it's the same damn message
>Ten years later, in 2015, Expedia awarded him $90 million worth of stock options as part of a long-term employment agreement, stating he would stay until 2020.
Sources close to one leading candidate, Meg Whitman, said she has not been informed as yet about a choice.
He's far too controversial. To say the company isn't profitable is understating things: it's a money fire. If you brought back Travis now, the VCs would walk away and stop putting money into the fire. New VCs might show up, but the terms for getting more money would start to get exorbitant, and Uber's spiral to bankruptcy would be a slightly shorter one.
Would you please (re-)read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when commenting here?
I don't see how you do that in any sort of reasonable time without making big changes. A new CEO won't do that, and actually paying drivers more eats into that road to profitability hard.
My question: you're suggesting this is bad for benchmark. I don't quite understand why? This doesn't seem like a coordinated effort by an "Iranian Cabal" so to speak. Just a group of people who share an ethnic background and who happen to also be succeeding in the valley.
Could be, but weird insinuating this just based on ethnicity.
# of f to give == 0
If we're being honest uber represents pretty much everything negative comeing out of SV at this point....
Frankly I expect more from the valley (and from YC) in general..#justsayin...
I couldn't imagine how all-consuming a gig like this must be. If I were to hear the news, I think I would spend the entire day in bed... just one last time.
If this guy doesn't accept, they should try to lure Bill Belichick and Tom Brady from the NFL. I don't think you could find two people who win as much as they guys do.
I think I'll throw in my resume, just in case.
I mean, seems like a good CEO overall (in the vein of the "any CEO for Uber is better than none"), but I can't see what he specifically brings to the table to uniquely bring them to market. That said, it's not like Kalanick had something special either, it's just as the founder he has different cache.
Overall I'm not impressed, but I'm curious what others' thoughts might be.
Worth noting that "speak about strategy in front of a camera" is an important aspect of being a CEO, and that one of the videos was very similar to a common interview question. So I'm not sure this was entirely unfair; just not a very meaningful observation given its limited informedness.
I know nothing about expedia but it sounds like airbnb ate their lunch. That and google.com/flights.
But that's just a few minutes. Hacker News tends to have smart people with domain specific knowledge. Any of those around who know this guy? What's your take?
They own hotels.com, which is doing incredibly well by any metrics you could think of. Last I checked, airbnb was about 2% of the bookings of hotels.com. It's negligible.
That being said, they are not competing. Hotels and BnB are not interchangeable.
Source: insider data.
If you had 10,000 karma at HN, could you trade those in at Starbucks for a free latte? No?
How about 1,000,000 karma? Could you trade those in at Delta for a free flight to Tahiti? No?
You can't take karma too seriously. Sometimes I've said something that I thought was adding to the conversation and I've been voted down a lot for it. Other times I've said something quick and flippant and earned some unexpected karma.
It's just HN fun points. Don't take the downvotes too seriously. I try not to.
But I have had 'dang' chastise me a few times, and I do try to pay attention to that, because he attempts to set the tone here. So if you avoid his wrath, you're cool.
Uber's route is to raise prices _a lot_.