WSJ ran a lengthy profile of Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, this past weekend. Uber operates an on demand city transportation service. The basic idea: need a cab or limo right now -- we have an app for that. Available in 25 cities, you can click on your iPhone or Android and your ride shows up shortly.
Great idea, right? Actually Uber has received a less than welcome reception in some cities because it provides competition to the taxicab establishment. Wonder why it is so hard to get a cab in some cities? The reason is that the licensing board and the cab companies have restricted supply artificially. Uber has had to battle transportation bureaucracies in a number of cities, but so far has prevailed. A key part of their business model is to use analytics to forecast demand and have enough capacity in place when needed. Also, drivers are evaluated by customers -- a revolutionary idea in this relatively backward industry -- and those with poor reviews are replaced.
Money quote: "I'm pro-efficiency. I want the most economic activity at the lowest price possible. It's good for everybody; it's not red or blue."
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