Best case scenario, Uber increasingly looks like this generation’s a company that will have to ignore everyone and keep raising money to grind it out until the economics suddenly work. That’s not a bad thing to be, but depends on Jeff Bezos like execution to make it out the other side. Uber could do that. It has the cash, the lead, the revenues, the backers, and the Machiavellian do anything attitude to get there. It’s wisely held off going public so none of us know what’s really going on with these economics beyond well choreographed leaks.

    But worst case, it may be this generation’s WebVan.


    Sources are telling me in developing markets there’s another issue: Rides priced artificially low may be bringing in a Groupon-like audience. People who will be Uber customers at an artificially low price, but not once the price goes up.

I think there's a similar problem here in developed countries, too. All of the people I know who use or talk about Uber who aren't tech-crazy twentysomethings use Uber for two primary purposes: as a ride to the airport, and as a designated driver. These are, generally, situations where people will be less cost-averse: after buying a plane ticket or a night's worth of drinks, the cost of "an Uber" seems small.

In addition, the struggle to move past the idea of "Uber = drunk taxi" will certainly be a difficult one. The only people who seem to think Uber or Lyft will replace car ownership either are people who live in a big city where they weren't going to own one anyway, or are people who have invested in Uber or Lyft. I think I'm still stuck in snark mode here: if Uber or Lyft want to replace taxis that's ok, but all these grandiose plans of doing any more than that seem dead.

posted by kleinbl00: 1236 days ago