I think this, specifically, is what will spell the doom of Uber and Lyft, and potentially many of the food delivery companies -- they rely on insane growth curves to generate new investment, and customer acquisition is just so unbelievably competitive/expensive, it's an arms race that (IMO) has to collapse at some point.
Car sharing isn't going anywhere. It's too convenient. The prices will rise, the number of drivers and passengers will fall and the companies will shrink, but they'll still be around. I have trouble seeing suddenly seeing a day when there's no car share service because they all finally went belly up.
If you are commuting, I wouldn't pay more than $100 for your bike anyway. Unless you are biking 100 miles a ride, you'd be hard pressed to notice a huge difference between a scratched up steel frame trek you found on craiglist and tuned up vs. some carbon fiber precision instrument imported from Italy. My maintenance costs are taking it to the bike shop once a year for a tune up - $60 and they give me new pads. I haven't had a flat since I bought gatorskins, and even though I suck at changing them, an inner tube is cheap and takes less than 30 mins to change. Those dollar or two rides on bike share really add up if you start relying on it heavily.
I get that it sucks hauling in a bike on a packed subway, but in the u.s. that's only really a concern for commuters in nyc. Even L.A. is a bike utopia once you get comfortable with traffic grazing your elbow and cutting you off all the time; it requires thick skin, and planning your routes a little differently, but you will always be faster than a car in traffic due to filtering.
Get a cheap bike that is nice to ride, 2 locks, and learn how to lock it up properly.
But, anecdotally, a fair number of urbanites regularly use Uber/Lyft instead of public transit or just because they don't want to drive. Presumably, significantly increasing prices would lose casual users who are using these services because they're a bit more convenient.
I do use private cars but pretty much to get back and forth to the airport.
The state of the art of cabs in smaller cities is getting hung up on, ghosted, or massively delayed when given a different ETA if you don’t book the cab hours in advance.
During rush-ish hour it’s also faster than a car due to lane splitting and such.
The math goes like this: $15 for a car that takes 15min + 5min of waiting, or $3 for a bike that takes 10min + some pedaling? Is easy decision
This is downtown SF so we’re talking lots of traffic and short distances.
In heavily urban areas, the average user might not see much of a difference (with few exceptions for weather, getting a cab in Manhattan pre and post Uber was basically the same and I've frequently canceled an Uber when I was able to hail a cab faster), but if you expand that just a smudge, say Brooklyn, which doesn't have yellow cabs unless they happen to be on the way back from a drop-off -- (and don't get me started on the uselessness of the green cabs) and as such was one of Uber's first really strong markets (I signed up for Uber the month it launched in NYC, back when it was livery only -- and used it almost exclusively in Brooklyn). The subsidized price (even though it has only decreased for drivers) has allowed cars to circle neighborhoods in Brooklyn -- but if that goes away and prices increase, drivers aren't necessarily going to sit or drive around each of those neighborhoods and will instead migrate to the most dense parts of town.
This is even worse for cities with historically little or no cab ecosystems (Atlanta -- and Atlanta is at an even worse advantage because of the terrible stage of its public transit, which only exists in the city proper), where Uber/Lyft effectively have become the cab system. I certainly don't think that market will leave those cities, but it costs rise (which seems likely), that will impact demand and will also in turn, impact how long it takes someone to get a ride.
(That said, I do not expect us to return to a pre-Uber in Atlanta world where it would cost $100 to get a cab from the airport to Dunwoody)
I do think the combination of increased demand (or at least awareness/ease of access to call a car) and logistical improvements (to me, this has always been Uber's greatest strength) will prevent things from turning into NYC in the 90s in most larger cities. But it is an open question in smaller cities that didn't have that infrastructure to begin with or are much more spread out.
Hypothetically, Uber and Lyft stock prices could collapse, Google and Apple buy them, respectively, and then they could become features in Google and Apple Maps, as opposed to standalone companies and apps.
Sure, there are additional logistics, city management, back-end processing pieces that are not trivial. But the customer app experience certainly can be replicated as companies like Via have done, and Google and Apple could afford the transition costs of taking over all the behind-the-scenes logistics.
Not saying this will happen, but it's an illustration of how car-sharing survives but Uber and Lyft do not.
If Facebook buys Oculus, that doesn't mean Oculus stops existing. It just means Oculus is now owned by Facebook.
Right now, Uber and Lyft are burning a ton of money on customer acquisition with the goals of gaining enough scale to be sustainable, independent companies.
Relating this back to the great-grandparent post, there's an alternative: Google and Apple could use their existing brand recognition and software reach to maintain wide-scale car-ordering apps without having to spend as much (certainly still some) and with bigger balance sheets to take any short term financial hits. Then they could let the supply (drivers and the cost of rides) and demand (how many customers will pay for non-VC subsidized cars) play itself out over time, instead of the Uber/Lyft model of trying to juice both sides of the marketplace with excess spend.
If so, does this presuppose Apple’s vision is to include mass transportation as (a major) part of its products?
I'd assume automation of the vehicles plummets labor costs and then subsidizing the prices due to increased rider volume would be permissible.
That may be in the 10-15 year range, but I think they'll float along until something like that occurs. It's just a matter of time.
But I'm just a wild speculator.
To be fair, one could make the same argument about Pets.com. People will always need dog food, it will always be inconvenient to get it from the shop. But here we are 20 years on and I'd say online delivery of pet supplies across the world is virtually non-existent.
If Uber and Lyft are like arilines, what happens when a travelocity equivalent enters the game? Does all that market position that was bought through VC money matter if all of a sudden many (or most!) your fares are being viewed side by side with every competitor that feels like being in that market?
What matters more to a consumer of these services, the past good behavior of the companies they've used, or the fact that it's a dollar cheaper and picks you up a minute earlier, or in a nicer car? Even if they are reticent to use an unknown company, everyone knows Uber and Lyft, and the damage done to the VC funded low-fare strategy just by showing those two head to head would be enormous. And what happens when entry is that easy and localities start forming co-op groups to provide the benefits of Uber or Lyft but funnel all profits back to the drivers?
All I can say is that I'm grateful for the VC backers of Uber and Lyft for their generous donations.
None of these are a silver bullet, but they open up new growth that isn't tied to the standard hockey stick growth curve people use to get funding.
in late majority markets like ride-hailing, (1) awareness is not really a problem on either side of the marketplace as most folks have at least heard of uber and lyft, and (2) inertia is mainly due to uncertainty and risk aversion (for both sides of the market).
so then, the primary friction on the user side is downloading the app and then entering a credit card.
on the driver side, it's considering whether to buy/replace a car, entering personal info and answering intrusive questions, getting a background check, getting your car inspected, and being interviewed and trained. more costly and risky than signing up to be a user.
This certainly isn't what you'd guess from reading comments on HN.
Adding: To be fair, it probably more strongly correlates with "Which technology companies have you heard of?"
So.. HN might be right , after all :-). Knowing nothing about how they chose their sample respondents, I doubt we can either agree or disagree!
 Wikipedia says that Ms Meeker works for Kleiner Perkins.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Meeker
I'm coming to the conclusion that much publishing is really a highly-ornate calling card or advertisement.
It should be possible to give the readers a taste of the actionable business intelligence without giving it all away, shouldn't it? They have the same thing to gain as any other company giving away demos.
nearly 4.2 million people streamed in december 2018 at least once on twitch
that seems incredibly high. I wonder how many of those are streaming games vs. talk/conversation vs. travel/outside social etc.
I also wonder what the cost of all of this is. How many of them will actually be unprofitable for twitch due to not having any viewers. The streaming infrastructure must be more expensive than say a yt vid that no one watches, no?
Article readers -> Video consumers(YouTube, Facebook etc)-> livestream (initially games and now anything)
Streaming games might be the first high value use case but I can def. see twitch gain traction in other niches.
Many of what we take for granted in the developed world, and even in India/China, have barely been introduced to the vast majority of people.
As to booking.com: from reading the Wikipedia entry I gather the original dutch-founded booking.com was at some point acquired by Priceline Group (which had an American founder), which later changed its name back to booking.com. It seems the slide is (technically) correct, and any attempt to capture such cases in a workable definition would be complicated.
A great summary on (of all the things :-)) Twitter : https://twitter.com/investing_city/status/113854955878977945...
(pdf links aren't the first choice, but that slide interface was confusing, as others have pointed out.)
edit: ah. Yeah it doesn't work on my phone (Pixel ... 1). It downloads the entire PDF and then just dumps me on the first page.
Social Security is not an entitlement in anything but the strictest sense of the word. Every year you put it in your report and group it in like it's some sort of handout by the federal government, but it's not. And every year, you put up a few slides pushing your politically-motivated world view of cutting "expenses", but never bother to note what USA Inc. could do to increase revenues like raising taxes on the insanely wealthy back to 1950's levels: 91 percent top marginal tax rate would go a long way to balancing USA Inc's books.
Also, it's amazing how many slides you dedicated to the national debt during Obama's presidency, and yet now it barely gets a mention, and definitely no dire predictions of ruin and destruction for all. I wonder why?
Every year I point this stuff out in HN, because I want to make sure the bias is well and truly noted in case others missed it. It makes me question how much irrational partiality infects the rest of the report - quite a lot I suspect.
In this case it doesn't seem to be a generic political tangent, but specifically addressing what appears to be bias in the report.
I found the post informative and adding context, but then, I'm probably politically aligned with the GP. Which certainly colors my view. :)
Basically, the dynamics of introducing or amplifying hot controversies in a thread are predictable. If a comment is to avoid having that effect, it needs to include information specific to the topic at hand and eliminate any traces of flamebait.
There's a fine art to setting the tax rate at a level that people dislike, but not strongly enough to do something about it, because the other benefits of being here outweigh.
Yeah, the IRS doesn't care.
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.
Keep in mind a 91% top marginal tax rate isn't an effective rate of 91%, it would only affect money over some theoretically large amount. If you made $10 million gross, it doesn't mean you take home $900k. Depending on how the rate tiers are set up, you're probably taking home multiple millions of dollars, and you can get a lot more bang for your buck with some good donating (since the higher the rate, the less it affects your bottom line). Also, maybe there's investment opportunities that allow for it to be put back into businesses as VC that also delay the tax, and allow for it to be put to use.
So the question is, would you uproot your life and move away from friends and family and make it harder to do business so that instead of taking home $4 million of your $10 million gross you take home $6 million or $7 million? Given how little utility that extra money likely has, I'm not sure many people would (especially since the bragging rights for how much they made the prior year remain unchanged).
It's literally a government run retirement account that you fund yourself (and at this point with less assurance that you'll get a good return on that). How's that an entitlement?
It doesn't look like most people can opt out or get any money before turning 62.
I think the rest of the points stand though. It's not just random tax allocations being distributed to people, Social Security has it's own fund that is paid into through it's own specific taxes. The amount you get out is based on the you put in (even if it's not necessarily a simple formula). You can see this here. I wouldn't consider a separately funded and administered fund specifically designed for retirement an "entitlement", as that term is generally used in politics.
It is true that employers match the amount employees put in (both to a taxable maximum amount), but that's not all that different than many retirement plans where there exist 401k matching. Social security is just a codified legal requirement that people have some form of saving account if they work, and split the burden between the employee and business (all businesses, which means it doesn't disadvantage the business since it's a level playing field)
Similarly, if an insured house burns down, we'd say the policy holder is entitled to a payout, not that they earned it.
Well, it goes to fund the system overall, but doesn't really increase the amount other people get (other than to offset future inability to pay from instability of the institution). It is a socialistic institution, and there are other financial products that don't pay out after you die (annuities), so it's not entirely unique in that respect.
Also, having items only go to your spouse isn't entirely without precedent. How your assets are distributed when you die is handled differently in different states, but if all your children are from your spouse at the time of death, I think generally the assets all go to the spouse.
> In that way Social Security seems like other insurance in that payouts are not earned and you're getting other people's money.
Consider savings accounts or money market at banks. They don't put your money in a vault and keep it there while it magically grows, they invest it, and the money of yours they invested may be completely wiped out at any time, but they offset that by other people's deposits and profits on other investments. Whose money you ultimately get out is irrelevant, as it is with every financial product. What you get in all cases is governed by an algorithm of some sort (even if it includes as a variable how a specific item performed as one or more of many variables, such as fees).
> Similarly, if an insured house burns down, we'd say the policy holder is entitled to a payout, not that they earned it.
Yes, but we wouldn't say that is handled through "entitlements", which colloquially means something entirely different when used to refer to items related to the government. Specifically, it refers not to the "the amount to which a person has a right" but to the other possible meaning, which is "the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment". In that respect, I don't think it's all that accurate to refer to Social Security as an entitlement, since the connotation is somewhat inaccurate in my eyes.