Recently, I raised an issue when I got billed twice for the same ride. In India, they have no phone support, just email. Instead of checking transactions on their end, they wrote back to me asking me to submit my bank statement so that they can verify. I was quite surprised that customer support could just ask for people's bank statements.
I filed a support request online and received no response. Apparently there is no phone support here either? This is in US.
Movistar and Vodafone in Spain have both been like that with me.
If there's a ridesharing co that is actually a monopoly it's probably Grab in SEA.
In India, don't you have Ola?
(this was some time ago, I don't know what the status is today)
Whatever Uber did to paper over what news of their misdeeds reached general cultural consciousness (if any...) seems to have worked for the most part. That's a shame, since I truly believe there should be much harsher repercussions for their blatant disregard of the law over an extended period and the pain and problems it caused to many.
I suspect if the market was working efficiently, Uber would have a lot more problems and be in a much worse position than they are (efficient markets assume good information, and if people don't know what Uber's done, they can't make an informed decision).
I'm well outside of SV, use Lyft occasionally, and never use Uber out of principle.
I travel regularly and it is very rare not to have Lyft available. Virtually any city with >250k has both from my experience, although that could just be where I travel, I don't know.
Lyft is US/Canada only, while Uber is much more global.
Everywhere other than the US and Canada?
I will leave the matter of discussing the legality of how they treat their contractors to our courts. But it's a fact that thousands of drivers still think it's worth driving for Uber regardless of any legal controversy that may (or may not) exist.
The ideal company works to maximize shareholder value. And not just short-term value, but the amortized value of the company in perpuitity. This in turn maximizes employee value and customer value.
Let’s take a company that has great products and gives away everything for free. In the short-term, this might look like maximizing customer value, but soon, the conpany will go out of business. You could construct a similar example in which employee wages were maximized.
The ideal situation is that the company pays employees as little as possible and charges customers as much as possible. In this way, the company is on the efficient frontier. Companies then compete on employee wages and product cost. This creates a Nash equilibrium in which no party can benefit from doing anything differently.
This is the highest and most noble calling of the markets and creates the abundent and efficient markets of today (unless of course, the government steps in to fuck everything up).
PS: I know I am going to get downvoted, but I would appreciate a comment instead of a downvote.
Note: I use these two examples because they are classic cases of positive and negative externalities but they are so well known that the government has already stepped to make public parks and tax or regulate of the externalities related to the pollution from cars.
Sure, but that simply suggests that those externalities should be priced. Problem solved.
For example, if you believe that Facebook played a large role in electing trump and that trump is bad how would you even begin to price such a thing. If those things were both true how could we ever find out.
Purely shareholder value is an overly narrow way of looking at the world or making decisions.
That would imply that there is no climate change happening, as we would have priced in that externality and resolved the issue by now. Right?
As it turns out, that isn't right, because nobody who has incentive to price the externality right is allowed to be part of the process, and the ones who are part of the process are incentivized to cheat and not price externalities at all, or to price them poorly.
So we have runaway climate change. And we have structures preventing that from improving because the incentive structures are flipped to the opposite right now. There is no indication that will change, in fact the incentives to pollute and remove the externality of pollution from the cost of goods sold and services provided, so that we are actually accelerating this path towards higher pollution (see Trump's coal-and-oil-championing attitude).
Erm, what? I didn't say that the system would price it...if it would...we wouldn't need to price it. I said that we needed to price it. You seem to be arguing against some sort of made up straw man here.
> The ideal company works to maximize shareholder value. And not just short-term value, but the amortized value of the company in perpuitity....
> The ideal situation is that the company pays employees as little as possible and charges customers as much as possible....
It might be for some people, but I wouldn't say that view is universal. In my view the teleological purpose of a company is to strive to act morally and ethically while providing value to society. I think trying to replace that with a mechanism driven by a map-model is pretty dystopian.
This is as opposed to a general partnerships, which most businesses were until the 1980s, where the owners were personally responsible for all debts and harm the firm caused. Delaware didn’t even have LLCs until 1991 and corporations were much harder to form.
We don’t have to live in a society where a fundamental structure organizing human activity ignores the well being of many of the core constituencies it interacts with; we write the rules. We could decide that corporations and their officers have to balance their effort maximize value for shareholders, employees, debt holders, their local community and the country. The social contract can be negotiated.
I say this as a start up founder, entrepreneur, and capitalist.
Finally, your argument assumes competition exists to reap the benefits of competition; but monopolies and dualoplies such as Uber/Lyft exist specifically to achieve network effects and the pricing power they allow. That is clearly great for shareholders but inefficient for everyone else. Being a capitalist doesn’t mean being pro business in all its forms. Monopolies are destructive to innovation, wealth distribution, efficiency, and over the long term capital appreciation.
Anyway; No down vote from me.
That's the thing. Economic rules are not natural laws but they are human created and have always been adjusted and will always be adjusted.
But this is what they characteristically fail at, or are given strong incentives not to do.
For example, one of the best things a stable, mature company can do is to just keep operating its business, making profits and returning the profits to the shareholders. Then the shareholders can use the money for whatever is most efficient, e.g. investing it in other companies with better growth potential. But the tax laws in the US punish that severely as compared with wasteful empire building or subsidiary shell games that warehouse cash in foreign subsidiaries in lower tax jurisdictions. Returning profits to shareholders gets taxed twice. Hoarding or wastefully/inefficiently spending the money doesn't get taxed at all. So they do the dumb stuff, and Apple holds onto a pile of cash the size of a mountain even though they're not actually doing anything productive with it.
You also have all kinds of problems with time frames. There are many things you can do to a company that will increase quarterly profits, like raising prices on customers that require a long lead time to switch to a competitor. Things like that may increase profits for years as the locked-in customers pay the price for as long as it takes them to transition to another vendor. But then the business starts to implode as the customers gradually all leave, and the same long lead time that kept them from quickly switching away (plus the damage you've done to your reputation) keeps them from quickly switching back. You can see this in, for example, Oracle's share of the database market slowly descending down a cliff.
And in general there are just information problems. Shareholders make decisions based on public information, but there is so much more involved in a company's operations than is described in those statements that it's easy for bad managers to waste or steal resources or otherwise make short-sighted decisions without ever getting held to account, and many incentives for them to do so, particularly when their current bonuses are tied to current-term numbers and not long-term numbers.
In other words, as mruts said, the government steps in to mess everything up.
> You also have all kinds of problems with time frames.
> And in general there are just information problems.
Yes, but those problems can't be fixed by making the market less free. They can only be fixed by shareholders having a long time horizon and being willing to be involved in corporate governance. The biggest issue with that nowadays is that most "shareholders" are not individuals but mutual funds, which shortens the effective time horizon for everybody (even though funds are holding the retirement accounts of people who will be working for the next 30 years, they still compete on short-term returns) and means no effective shareholder governance (mutual funds don't care how individual companies compensate their management, they'll just trade to another stock if one company has problems).
You contend that the success of corporations maximizing shareholder value relies on active shareholder governance. Yet the rational choice for an individual in an efficient market is to simply diversify their portfolio and minimize fees through passive investments. How would a freer market fix the time frames issue that both of you agree is a problem and you suggest active long-term shareholder pressure is necessary to solve?
To the extent that it creates problems with time horizon and corporate governance, yes.
However, that does not mean that making the market less free will improve outcomes.
> How would a freer market fix the time frames issue
Who said anything about a "freer market"? You just said (and I agreed) that the rise of index funds is an example of rational choices in a free market. So there is no "freer" market that can fix it.
What I said was that government interference does not fix anything; it makes things worse. (US tax laws being an example.)
Certainly. But it still actually happens under existing law to existing public companies, and happens less to companies that aren't public corporations (C corps.) and correspondingly don't have the same tax treatment. And having companies owned by smaller numbers of people also addresses the issue of ownership being so diluted that nobody has sufficient incentive to pay attention to corporate governance.
> Yes, but those problems can't be fixed by making the market less free.
The "[some regulation] vs. lack thereof" debate is uninteresting in the abstract. Most regulations make things worse as a general rule, but if we don't evaluate them each individually then we wouldn't even have laws against theft or murder etc.
> maximizes employee value and customer value
> the abundent and efficient markets of today
I suspect the GP believes it a little more strongly than I do, but I think their point is that we should consider outcomes (i.e. "plenty") rather than stated intentions ("maximum profit"), though their examples mostly illustrated the point in the other direction.
Criticising Uber for trying to maximise their profits could be construed as criticising them for delivering customer value. Bit of a stretch, though :-).
Down vote baiting is discouraged by the site guidelines.
Give me 18 billion dollars, and I'll pay people to drive other people around.
"How will we make money?" What? This is Silicon Valley, nobody makes money, we just burn capital ($18B) from people who invested in one good thing 20 years ago until we can sell the remaining capital ($7B) to braindead retail investors for 10x it's value.
The company only has a year and a half of runway left, so we have to move quick.
Define "easy"; they lost $1.8 billion last year. My investors made more money and my company doesn't exist.
I've been through this with other companies preparing for IPO.