Deleting Uber

Uber.jpgShame on me for waiting until today to finally do it. I started hearing one year ago from friends and family about why they had decided to stop using Uber. But Uber was just then ramping up in Kerala, India and I found it compelling enough to abandon car ownership. When I saw the details recently on what a creep Uber’s founder and largest shareholder is, that should have been enough. But, it was this article that finally compelled me. Thanks to the New York Times reporter Kevin Roose for the perspective:

As Uber Stumbles, Lyft Sees an Opening, and Bites Its Tongue

It has been a rough, scandal-filled year for Uber. But don’t expect John Zimmer, Lyft’s president, to gloat about his competitor’s misfortunes.

John Zimmer, the co-founder and president of Lyft, wants you to know that he is not — I repeat, not — happy about the chaos that is enveloping Uber, his fiercest rival in the ride-sharing market. There will be no corks popped at Lyft’s San Francisco headquarters over the sudden, stunning downfall of Travis Kalanick, Uber’s truculent former chief executive, and no giddy high fives will be exchanged over the chain of scandalous events that have demoralized Uber’s staff, shredded its executive ranks and damaged its reputation.

“There’s nothing to celebrate in this situation,” Mr. Zimmer told me in a phone interview Monday, his first public comments since Mr. Kalanick resigned last week. “But it does shine a light on the importance of values and ethics.”

Another executive might be tempted to take a victory lap at a moment like this, but Mr. Zimmer, one of Silicon Valley’s more earnest and mild-mannered entrepreneurs, wants to stay above the fray. In fact, he is so unwilling to pounce on Uber’s struggles that he won’t even name the company, which he refers to as “our competition.”

Lyft’s refusal to gloat publicly over the misfortunes of the Competitor-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a savvy maneuver from a company that has spent years positioning itself as the friendly, laid-back alternative to Uber’s cutthroat corporate ethos. Lyft began cultivating a reputation for kindness years ago, when it affixed quirky pink mustaches to drivers’ cars and encouraged them to fist-bump their passengers, and it has continued with feel-good marketing and an emphasis on driver-friendly policies.

The company’s big bet was that customers didn’t want just a cheap ride — they wanted an experience, and given the choice between two ride-sharing companies offering similar services at similar prices, they would opt for the one with a whiff of virtue to it…

Read the whole story here.

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