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Amazon didn't turned profit for first 5 years or so after IPO. If you go back 15 years down the history, you will find many articles/analysis doubting if they would ever become profitable. However no one doubted that online retail was the future and brick-and-mortar stores will increasingly become part of the history.

I see a lot of parallels here. No one doubts anymore that app-based cabs are the future and traditional taxis business is pretty much done now. So if you take that as foundation then there has to be one or two companies that would eventually dominate this business. With first mover advantage, Uber has good chance of being one of them.




This is a foolish viewpoint. Amazon got immense economies of scale as they grew, Uber’s costs scale alongside it.

It drives me crazy that so many people equivocate them.


Amazon also built out a huge logistics infrastructure which they own and is hard to replicate (not just know-how, but warehouses and robots). Uber don't own the cars or employ the drivers, they have a phone app and a brand name.


I don't understand why uber's costs don't scale well. They make an app that drivers use. They're not having to buy cars or hire drivers to grow. They just need their app to function. What is all their money going towards?

Is all that money lost just subsidizing the cost of the ride? If they stop subsidizing the drive price, which they will have to at some point I imagine, will people just abandon the service?


There's two ways it goes: squeeze drivers or squeeze riders. The ironic part of their position is as it makes a market on both sides, squeezing either will result in a loss of riders/drivers to alternatives.

This writing has been on the wall for ages, but people keep looking past it.

Uber I think somewhat internally knows this, and have thus tried either moonshots or diversifying. Uber Eats actually looks to be profitable since you take driver surplus and turn it into profits, simplifying a bit. Self driving moonshots are just that - moonshots.

You can already see the effects of them squeezing drivers with recent strikes and issues including a possible 600M+ arbitration costs from drivers.


Good point. Have you read Hubert Horan's articles on Uber (especially those on nakedcapitalism.com)?

Retailers can use economies of scale to lower prices and increase variety of products. There are no economies of scale in Uber the way it's structured now and the service is largely homogeneous. There could be economies of scale with self-driving cars, but why should they be the winner there?

The only way they managed to offer lower prices (which is the main concern to riders) is through VC subsidy. There is simply no way to significantly lower prices for taxis, unless you have self-driving cars.

The only thing Uber has is a limited power of a local network effect which is a relatively weak moat.


Uber is totally banking on driverless cars to lower to cost per mile to near nothing.


I agree that Uber is betting on driverless cars to lower the cost per mile. But I think Tesla will beat them to market much much before them considering Tesla already has the tech. Elon even hinted on the Tesla taxi fleet in the next couple years. Now I realize Elon's got poor judgement on timing but I still think they will be able to achieve that much earlier than Uber. And if they do, I honestly don't see Uber surviving.


There's no evidence that Tesla has any distance on Uber, other than Elon's word which means jack. Waymo is thought to be the leader in this space.


> Elon's word which means jack

He has proved his words countless times now. I have no idea what you are talking about. Only criticism I have about Elon would be his estimations on the time but I work in the tech field too and I can relate to issues coming up which postpone the deadlines.

How exactly is Waymo thought to be the leader? It's like the same argument short sellers have been making for years that Tesla electric cars will be overtaken by other car manufacturers. Come back to me when Waymo has overtaken Tesla in actual and on the market product.


Well, for one thing Waymo's vehicles haven't been involved in any deadly accidents. Tesla's self driving cars are unable to avoid driving into the undersides of trucks. So it's hard to see Tesla as the leader here.


> other than Elon's word which means jack.

I think history has demonstrated that betting against Musk is not a wise choice.


I think you can make the same point without calling it foolish.


> Amazon, the company that everyone loves point to as an example of how losing money eventually makes money, lost a combined $2.8 billion over its first 17 quarters as a public company, significantly less than the $4.5 billion Uber lost in 2017.

Source: https://oversharing.substack.com/p/bird-raises-prices-to-tri...


Was Amazon as big as Uber in those first 17 quarters (in ters of revenue)? If not, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.


Comparing Uber to Amazon is just silly. Amazon had/has a sustainable, robust business model. They chose to re-invest.

Uber burns money like it's going out if style and has no clear path to profitability.


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