Things Change: Updating That Quote About Uber, Airbnb, etc

Advertisements

Uber Me to My Airbnb? For Wheelchair Users, Not So Fast

Excerpt from this article:

There are many companies that are part of this new economy, but for the purposes of accessible travel, Airbnb and Uber are the most relevant. And sadly, wheelchair users are largely being left out of it.

Because Airbnb involves people renting out their private homes, the company lives in a sort of regulatory gray area. Homeowners in the United States who use Airbnb are not required to make their properties comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, although they are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities and those who use service animals. A few years ago, Airbnb gave homeowners the option of describing their properties as wheelchair accessible. But in most cases homeowners who are able-bodied tend to believe “wheelchair accessible” means a wheelchair user can get through the front door — and that’s about it. This puts wheelchair users in the exhausting position of having to contact every Airbnb host who has listed a home as wheelchair friendly in their destination to ask questions about roll-in showers, doorway widths, ramps and other items, over and over again.

“Side Hustle” as a Sign of the Apocalypse

Excerpt from this article:

And WTF has happened to our culture when we just take it as fact that everyone needs to have multiple jobs and work as a cab driver and rent out every square inch of space in their apartment and be a task rabbit gopher who waits in line for tickets when they’re not walking dogs or temping and we all just chalk it up to “progress”??? In the old days, this meant your life was falling apart. Now it just means you’re part of “the sharing economy.”…

These tech companies position themselves as heroes. They talk about “changing the world” constantly. Yet all they do is churn out technology for rich, white dudes in their 20s/30s who live in big cities and want apps to fill in the blanks for what mommy used to do.

Mommy used to pick me up from soccer practice. A: Uber.

Mommy used to do my laundry. A: Flycleaners.

Mommy used to clean my room. A: Handy.

Mommy used to buy me groceries. A: Blue Apron.

Mommy used to cook me food. A: Seamless.

 

How Mobile Apps Are Improving India’s Rickshaws

Excerpt from this article in the Harvard Business Review:

In the past, auto rickshaws’ flaws stemmed from low rates of usage, an inability to identify demand and supply in real time, and inefficient pricing that often left both sides dissatisfied. The opportunity to address these issues by leveraging the one billion mobile phones (and counting!) in India was clear.

Rickshaw hail businesses started out tracking the real-time availability and location of drivers through a makeshift system of drivers self-reporting their availability via text messages. With the growing penetration of smartphones, tracking was elevated to GPS in the last few years, but the improvements were similar: a new ability to connect riders and drivers in a timely, reliable way. Rather than relying on happenstance, hailing an auto rickshaw became systematic, especially since the city of Rajkot launched a pioneering model in the form of G-Auto, a city-backed fleet of auto rickshaws, in 2012.

Individually operated rickshaws that previously meandered along disjointed routes with no connection to their customers’ needs now run on optimized routes, leading to improved service and greater road safety. Security has also improved for female passengers, as smartphone hailing apps provide users with the identity of their drivers, allowing for easier reporting of harassment. The system also means that because many drivers have doubled or tripled their number of rides completed in a day, they have been willing to accept the fare displayed on the meter rather than constantly haggling over price. Their increased productivity has put many rickshaw operators on a path to ownership and, in many cases, the means to upgrade to cleaner vehicles.

 

 

ClassPass and the Joy and Guilt of the Digital Middleman Economy

Illustration by Erik Carter

Excerpt from this article:

Each month, I pay $99 to a company called ClassPass for the luxury of taking an unlimited number of fitness classes in and around Brooklyn, where I live. In the depths of this winter, regular exercise — a key to calming my hyperactive and anxiety-prone brain even when it’s less awful outside — has become crucial enough to maintaining my sanity that I find myself prioritizing my ClassPass bill over other splurges, like ordering in, taking cabs and expensive nights out.

While attending classes, I’ve picked up on notes of tension between the company and its partner studios. It’s not uncommon for instructors at individual studios to implore ClassPass users to sign up for regular packages and become members — an unlikely proposition for people who are already paying $99 a month to ClassPass. It’s normal enough that they would want to up-sell newcomers, but the urgency and undertone of desperation in their voices signal something else afoot in the financial realities of their partnership.

 

For Some Teenagers, 16 Candles Mean It’s Time to Join Uber

Excerpt from this article:

For generations of American teenagers, obtaining a driver’s license was a rite of passage. But when Jonathan Golden, a scruffy-haired high schooler who lives in Santa Monica, Calif., turned 16 in November, he couldn’t be bothered with the bureaucracy of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Instead, he wanted his own Uber account.

That way, he could do normal teenage things like meeting friends at the mall, going to the movies or coming home from school without having to call his parents. He was also open to the idea of picking up a date in an Uber, though he says he doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment.

The rise of the ‘Uberized economy’ and what it means for business

Using Android phone

Excerpt from this article:

The world of labor is changing. Through laptops and mobile devices, a new world of services is becoming more accessible. The platforms enabling such services are also providing new homes for a rising entrepreneurial class of worker who is no longer being defined by the cubical. It’s becoming clear, that in a not too distant future, our companies and corporations will be built on virtual networks vs marble lobbies.

While we have seen an explosion of “Uberized” labor marketplaces that make things like grocery delivery and home cleaning a mobile click away, labor marketplaces are quickly moving in more sophisticated directions.

While the oDesks of the world have defined “virtual labor” for the past decade, a new generation of virtual labor marketplaces is rising – even in the most old-school industries – and unlocking highly skilled services in a whole new way.