I’m sure you heard someone exclaim last week, “How can Uber is worth $18B?” Those that follow me on Twitter (@chrislogan) know I’m be pretty obsessed with Uber. It’s a great example of distributing William Gibson’s uneven future. It combines many elements into a seamless experience that greatly improves the lives of everyone that uses it.
Uber has a brilliant value proposition – give me a car right now, right here, to go where I need to go.
And it solves so many problems, so gracefully, that most customers forget they were problems: Safety, cleanliness, comfort, promptness, uncertainty of schedule and delay, parking, traffic and directions, uncertainty of fares, integrity of the driver, method of payment.
In solving these problems, Uber improves the quality of life for the customer. But better yet, it also improves the community in which it operates. Among other benefits, it decreases congestion, decreases air pollution, increases tourist revenues, and makes it easier to do business.
It provides all these benefits by leveraging capabilities that have only been available for a few years. It leverages a smart phones many magical abilities: local computing power, high-resolution display, geo-location, cell communication and data networking. It adds massive amounts of cloud data: maps and traffic. And, marries it to powerful applications and integrations: an app that tracks, rates and ranks usage and routes for user accounts and driver accounts. It uses databases of participating vehicles and drivers, and integrates into payment systems that tie to virtually every credit card and financial account on the planet.
This is innovation on par with Amazon’s disruption of retail commerce. Books were only the beginning with Amazon. Similarly, Black car services are only the beginning with Uber. It’s a platform that can support an on demand usage model across dozens of our daily activities. Imagine the next time you needed to …(fill in the blank)… you just tap your phone and it’s made available to you.
In 2004, Amazon was worth $18B. For the last 10 years there’s been a steady chorus of naysayers complaining that there wasn’t enough value, or profit, or growth to justify the price. Amazon today is $150B and still growing at clip that is the envy of all of Wall Street. Uber is the next Amazon.
I look forward to the Uberization of my life. Imagine when healthcare is Uberized. Today, when I am sick and at my least mobile, I have to figure out who to see, make appointments, wait in rooms of sick people, to be shuffled between providers who don’t share my information, take repeated tests and have competing diagnoses and prescriptions. In an Uber health system, the system would know who I was, where I was, what was wrong, route me (or better yet my medications) in the most efficient manner and be sure I was dealing with the right provider for the right things at the right time. Like Uber today the result would improve my life, and it would benefit everyone. The system would cost less, be able to see more people, and have better out comes.
When people complain that we have a device in our hands that gives us access to all information and knowledge…and we use it to watch cats and send selfies, I point to Uber.