Drain the Swamp: What Trump and Uber Have in Common

Drain the Swamp: What Trump and Uber Have in Common

I really like when change is for the right reason.

For example, taxis. Why should government involve itself in car rides?

I remember in my youth when one of our neighbors, usually an old lady needed a ride, somebody stepped up. Generally one of the twenty-somethings gave her a ride. And for his trouble, the old lady would give him gas money and a little more.

That’s how the ride-sharing evolved. Then government got in the way. And when government gets in the way, costs go up.

So now that same nice guy in the neighborhood is regulated. He must be trained. The car he drives must have a medallion, which can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars in big cities.

And then somebody “ubers” the industry.

As a story on LinkedIn suggests,

Much has been said about Uber’s multiple self-inflicted wounds during a period of very rapid growth and that are now being fixed. The reporting and commentary have tended to cloud the extent to which the company’s innovative approach has transformed urban transportation. Last week, on a trip to London, I was vividly reminded of the next stage of this transformation by a traditional London taxi driver.

It is not easy to become a London cabbie. Applicants have to go through four years of training to acquire the legendary knowledge of the city’s streets, alleys, twists and turns. They are subject to licensing requirements and a host of regulations. They drive expensive black cabs, which have become icons. And, these days, they are heavily outnumbered by lightly regulated competitors who go through little training, drive their own cars and rely heavily on technology for client pickups, routes, payments and invoicing.

No wonder cabbies have been so upset with Uber, having tried several times — and failed — to stop the penetration of the ride-hailing company. Yet, judging from what I heard last week from one driver, the anger could be evolving.

Trump is doing to politics what Uber did to the taxi industry.

First, Trump had many self-inflicted wounds, or so people thought. However, his failings, his humanity actually endeared him to the people. More on this in a bit.

Trump shares another thing with Uber, as like the taxi industry, establishment politicians never saw Trump coming. Most didn’t take him seriously.

After resisting everything Uber, the cabbie told me that he and his colleagues are shifting to a more constructive response — they are adapting. For example, he is part of a syndicate that now uses an app similar to Uber’s to provide riders with an expanded menu to hail and pay taxis, as well as offer them more control and transparency. The sector is a lot more willing and able to accept credit card payments. And it is all part of an effort to improve customer relations.

In a moment of frankness, he admitted that Uber has delivered a much-needed wake-up call. For him, it is no longer about stopping Uber; nor is it just about co-existence. A growing number of traditional taxis cabs are also embracing some of their rival’s best practices.

This is another illustration of the multiplicity of ways Uber has transformed, and is still transforming, the once-dominant world of black cabs, the most traditional and sophisticated market segment in global urban transportation.

The initial phases of Uber’s technology-led “disruptive innovation” proved particularly powerful because they lowered in a remarkable way the barriers of entry to both the supply of urban transportation services and the demand. Few disruptions influence both sides in such a dramatic and lasting fashion.

Again, the parallels to Donald Trump entering politics is uncanny.

For example, Uber knows nothing about the transportation business. Most people would call them novices. But are they? They know what people want, and used technology to connect them. 

Trump never held public office. He’s not a politician, but a businessman. Hasn’t he revolutionized how government works, which is little more than returning power to the people?

The people who control the expensive “medallions,” leftists, media, Hollywood, and so on have watched their value go down.

The article continues,

By allowing massively underused assets — personal vehicles otherwise sitting idle — to double as taxis, Uber significantly increased the provision of the service. And by measuring client satisfaction in a timely and high-frequency manner, it ensured that the bulk of this additional service would be clean, responsive, accountable, efficient, cost-effective and friendly.

The revolution on the demand side came from Uber’s understanding — and use — of the power of mobility, big data, and artificial intelligence. In doing so, it met the growing digitalization desires of clients (initially, mostly millennials, but increasingly encompassing a larger part of the population) eager to gain greater direct control over activities that had become ill-served, increasingly distanced and, in some cases, alienating. By also making the payments and settlement process more efficient and transparent, Uber further improved the experience for riders — leading many to substitute the service not just for other forms of public transportation, but also for private cars.

The entire industry of leftism suffers.

Long-time strategists have been rendered useless; relics of an antiquated political machine. Their tactics are as useless as a trap door on a kayak.

Trump understood all the things Uber understood. Why let somebody control what you already control?

As the author of the article wrote, “the power of mobility, big data, and artificial intelligence.” As an aside, artificial intelligence makes me chuckle, as that is what the Hillary Clinton campaign was fed.

With Trump, the customer got a higher level of satisfaction.

Trump provides unfiltered information. He doesn’t poll test, as he knows what he wants. He uses Twitter to go directly to the people. Obama promised transparency and gave none. Trump promised no such thing, and provides transparency continually. Just read his tweets and you have an idea of what he’s thinking in the moment.

Surprisingly, taxis admit that Uber made them better. With the monopoly in place, the taxi industry had no reason to improve.

Prior to Trump, politics was a monopoly with two parties switching control periodically to make us believe we had a choice. Trump gave America a real choice. And we happily took it.

Whether the Left will admit it, they know Trump made them better. He made politics better.




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