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Uber is thriving despite, or perhaps because of setbacks that would have long ago killed any other company.
  • While losing $Billions each year, Uber's valuation is skyrocketing. Now over $70 Billion, shows no meaningful signs of slowing.
  • Uber keeps opening new markets with a proven strategy to dominate despite resistance of entrenched competitors including taxis and the politicians that protect them.
  • Nobody with the notable exception of Didi Chuxing, which had a "home-field advantage", has seriously challenged Uber.
  • Uber's plan to use self-driving cars and trucks to become profitable is not dependent on being first to market them since they already control the majority market share in the USA and elsewhere.
  • Uber's combative and confrontational style, personified by TK, continues to work with few notable exceptions like Austin Texas and Nairobi Kenya. This despite numerous legal, political, and economic challenges.
So what are Uber's secrets?
Tikhon Jelvis said:
They're doing something almost, but not exactly, the same as running a taxi service while skirting taxi-specific regulations. Regulations that are different everywhere and often controlled by multiple levels of government at once. (In San Francisco, for example, they have to deal with both municipal and California state authorities.)

In most places, Uber operates on a fine line. On the one hand, there are enough legal questions that they're not shut down immediately. In a given city, they get going and suddenly they're big enough and popular enough (among consumers, especially affluent ones) that they're hard to deal with. On the other hand, they're challenging power directly-power doesn't like to be challenged-and they're competing with an established, entrenched industry that is not afraid to be vocal or even violent. There's political momentum to allow Uber and there's political pressure to disallow Uber leading to a dynamic equilibrium: Uber is in trouble, in the news but still operational.

You can't answer this question in more details than this because the exact legal and political issues facing Uber differ not just country-to-country but city-to-city. The only real constant is that most of the time Uber skirts its fine line. Why? The fine line is where the market is. Uber is tapping into new customers and capturing existing ones from taxis in part because they're willing to toe the line, take legal risks or even disregard regulations entirely. That's going to stir up the hive, but that's just what they do.

One way you can look at it is as a form of constructive noncompliance, perhaps with more of a capitalistic bent than the phrase usually involves. They're trying to pressure governments and regulators to change and adapt to support Uber's business model by simply not complying which could very well work but also leaves them under a lot of legal pressure and scrutiny.
Domhnall O'Huigin said:
Uber is in trouble with the law in multiple jurisdictions precisely because its profit derives from ignoring laws regarding public carriage vehicles in multiple jurisdictions.

In simple terms, if you want to carry people around in your vehicle for money, in most countries you have to abide by a suite of laws designed to protect your passengers. These include (but are not limited to):
  • Background checks to ensure drivers are free of serious criminal convictions.
  • Basic roadworthiness tests to ensure your vehicle is safe for transporting people.
  • Guidelines to ensure your vehicle meets the standards required for public service, e.g. wheelchair accessibility, cleanliness, fire safety and the like.
  • Insurance sufficient to cover public liability in the event of an accident.
Uber mostly ignores these inconvenient - and costly - requirements, because its central contention is that it is not a cab company (despite being founded as "UberCab" in 2009) and that all its drivers are "partners", "associates", or whatever it is calling them today instead of "employees".

Uber styles itself as a logistics company whose only role is connecting people who wish to be driven with people who wish to drive them.

Many regulators in many jurisdictions have a problem with this contention, to put it mildly. hence all the legal trouble.

Some jurisdictions also believe that Uber drivers are de facto employees. They believe this because Uber controls the flow of work to them, requests and holds work evaluation information on them and can terminate their work with Uber - all features of an employer under many legal frameworks. So this accounts for some of the legal actions.

Finally some individual people have taken legal action against Uber for various reasons (such as being assaulted by an Uber driver or similar).
While Uber does not treat their Drivers well, they do provide jobs for many who otherwise have difficulty gaining employment. The normal solution would be for drivers to organize or unionize. However, drivers in the USA find this difficult for various reasons, although there has been some success in California. There is no national organization willing to bring legal actions in Federal courts that would benefit all drivers nationwide.

Uber continues to fight, using tactics that include: deny, delay and ignore politicians and adverse legal rulings in many countries around the world, including the USA. There are unproven rumors of additional illegal tactics like Greyball and bribery. Uber's tactics (legal or not) have been mostly successful to date. Will that success continue? Let's just say that the "smart" money is betting on Uber. They are counting on a future IPO to "cash-in" on their investment, but TK is in no rush to do an IPO.
 

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The "secrets" to Uber's success are 1. Everyone hated Yellow Cab- charged too much, drivers wanted tips, the government hates cash businesses with little accountability for taxes, patrons in outlying areas and the ghetto had a hard time getting a ride.

2. The problem however, with solving any of those grievances is a lack of people wanting to drive. Cab driving was recognized as a hard, poverty level job, cab companies constantly were looking for new warm bodies to sit behind the wheel.


Uber's contribution was a tremendous public relations victory, convincing people it was easy money and cutting edge, high tech and 21st century to use their own private vehicles as taxis.

A tremendous victory in Public Relations, its an example that will be told in public relations classes for centuries on how he did it.
 

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The "secrets" to Uber's success are 1. Everyone hated Yellow Cab- charged too much, drivers wanted tips, the government hates cash businesses with little accountability for taxes, patrons in outlying areas and the ghetto had a hard time getting a ride.

2. The problem however, with solving any of those grievances is a lack of people wanting to drive. Cab driving was recognized as a hard, poverty level job, cab companies constantly were looking for new warm bodies to sit behind the wheel.

Uber's contribution was a tremendous public relations victory, convincing people it was easy money and cutting edge, high tech and 21st century to use their own private vehicles as taxis.

A tremendous victory in Public Relations, its an example that will be told in public relations classes for centuries on how he did it.
Now it's a hard poverty level job pay day loan scam for dummies who are willing to ruin their cars and risk their safety for a few bucks today while letting pax abuse you and being worried about losing said stupid gig.
 
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