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So many parallels to the music industry here.

You have a vc-funded company, operating at a loss, commoditizing the "talent" (drivers/musicians), thereby conditioning the audience (passengers/listeners) to expect an unsustainable cost for the service, using that loss leader mentality to drive other solutions out of business, until they argue or take action that the talent should expect even lower rates than they've historically gotten so the company can have a shot at being profitable. When the larger effect is that the company has captured value that used to go to the talent and then instead goes to the investors.

Unlike the music industry, there aren’t a whole lot of people who would just be a cab driver for free in their spare time even if there was no money in it.

I've heard many stories of drivers who do it to help keep drunk drivers of the road. There was a German Rideshare website I used (8+ years ago) that had decent popularity without requiring payment within the website. In this case I think we'd need to define "a whole lot" to try and compare the two.

What? One is a marginal cost business and one is not. Not a great take.

I disagree, there are more parallels than not

They aren't profitable because they're burning money on crap outside of matchmaking riders with drivers.

Do you actually have numbers to support that assertion? I have a hard time believing it.

What do you need to support the assertion? The operating costs of a 'match x with y' service are negligible compared to Uber's revenue take.

They're pissing all that money away on loosely related r&d and their hopes/dreams of an autonomous future. They now also need to somehow continue justifying their mind boggling 72 billion dollar valuation.

I expect in the coming years Uber will die and be replaced by a service that works exactly the same way but for a far smaller revenue take and without any of the lofty ambitions.

Have you ever received a free uber or lyft ride? I was in college when they were blowing up, and me, and each of my friends, probably used around 500$ of free rides each..

Here in Palo Alto I get offered rides in the middle of the night for less than a dollar! (I do sometimes get a pass). I pay Uber less than they pay their driver.

Brit here - when I visited SF basically all my rides were free thanks to Lyft (or their investors).

Read lyfts s-1 filling. Under"cost of revenue" I'd imaging Uber would be similar

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