Ride sharing company Uber is seemingly on top of the world. Worth roughly $41 billion, Uber is described by SF Gate writer Maya Kosoff as “the most valuable private tech company in the world right now.” Whether or not this is a good thing has been up for debate for some time now. However, the new question is “can this continue?” While the future of technology is notoriously hard to predict, and the business world can be equally difficult, Kosoff points out several potential pitfalls Uber not only needs to avoid, but is doing a poor job of dodging.
The first potential problem facing Uber is bad PR. There was a good deal of negative coverage after executive Emil Michael hinted at digging up personal information people who criticize the company in the media. The article points out that Uber’s competitors had their best business in the wake of the scandal.
The second issue is that company policies could cause Uber drivers to leave the job in mass – either going to rival ride sharing companies or leaving the industry altogether – thus hurting business. Obviously if there are no drivers than Uber can’t operate, or if there is too few drivers working than people will go to the rival companies for better service.
The final trouble spot for Uber are the issues that come from the their drivers’ actions. Accidental deaths, violent acts, and even sexual assaults have all been attributed to Uber drivers, resulting in lawsuits. The author doesn’t believe they are an immediate danger, but believes that enough of them could potentially drag the company down.
All three of these problems are not likely to take down Uber on their own, but combined they can be quite harmful. While the article never states it, having their drivers protesting is going to result in bad press, to say nothing of having customers accusing drivers of attempting to sexually assault them. And if low wages, poor treatment, and a negative image of the company leads to good drivers quitting, then the drivers who replace them could very well be the kind who commit the above mentioned acts. The simple fact is that if Uber doesn’t address these problems early on, then they could manifest into something that seriously hurts the company.
This humorous video elaborates on some more of the problems with the company.