Uber has seen it’s fair share of controversy. Managing the PR of that company sounds like a nightmare, as we observed recently when the #Ubergate surged due to a few uncouth statements made by Uber senior officers. Despite all of that Uber continues to forge ahead, growing at an astounding pace thanks to one key advantage: consumers really want it.
A True Disruptor
Uber is the epitome of mobile disruption: turning the powers and advantages of mobile into a better tool for consumers. In this case, Uber challenges the old Cab system with a solution that is easy to use, affordable, increases user confidence, and creates a cohesive driver-passenger community. The number one thing to note when looking at Uber’s story is that the product is incredible. That’s what drives the success.
The second thing driving success is their insatiable drive for growth. Uber grew fast and hard thanks to the immense demand for the product from the end-users. It grew so fast, that by the time the regulatory issues were apparent, Uber was already cemented into the lives of the users. And with legal systems obviously nothing moves terribly quickly, so Uber was able to outgrow the opposition.
Once words got out, and the bad PR regarding legal issues piled on, the obstacles became more difficult to surmount. New cities resisted Uber before it had a chance to establish themselves there, so a change of tactics was required.
Uber Courts Europe
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently described his plan to continue the spread into Europe, where he hopes to create 50,000 new jobs, should regulators work with Uber rather than against it. Perhaps we’re witnessing a softening of Uber’s edge, as Kalanick also seemed less critical of the laws in place, and more open to compromise.
Whatever Kalanick does, he does in the interest of growth, so it isn’t hard to imagine now that Uber’s wildfire spread has slowed that it will be more advantageous to work with officials rather than against them. Here in the UK Uber is currently available in London, Leeds, & Manchester, and has plenty of room to grow here and across Europe—but on the other hand, the service has had cease and desists, shutdowns, and bans thrown at it in many other cities.
Uber is one of the most intriguing modern startups thanks to the way that their innovation is forcing legal action. It’s obvious that eventually new laws will need to be created to govern a new age of electronic and mobile business, and Uber is forcing the issue.
Will Uber forge a path that other app startups can follow? I believe it will, though only time can tell. No matter what they accomplish, they’ve set a precedent for how apps can achieve growth at a global scale.
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