Here's Why Uber Isn't A Tech Company

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Oct 10, 2017

We’ve all heard about the companies of the last decade or so that have failed–whether it was failure to keep up with technology trends, listen to their customers, or keep up financially–and landed themselves in the “failed-to-innovate” graveyard. We actually covered a few examples in our infographic, The Survivors of Tech, but I wanted to take some time to dive a little deeper into a few of their stories. This is part two in our series, and you can check out Part One and Part Two here. Uber & Lyft It’s hard to imagine a time without Uber. The convenience of reaching for our phones to summon a ride from virtually anywhere has become second nature–so much so that I even have a hard time remembering how I got by without it–but what if I told you that this revolutionary shift from hailing yellow cabs to having a car in my driveway with a few taps wasn’t really that extraordinary? While, yes, ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft undoubtedly revolutionized the way we get from Point A to Point B, the methods by which they did it were anything but revolutionary. In fact, it was a simple customer-first mindset that allowed them to completely monopolize the transportation industry. Let’s break this down. It started as a simple question: Why not ask drivers who were already going somewhere to monetize the extra seats in their car? And quickly morphed into another: Why not use the device riders and drivers are on most to aid in providing an experience that’s enjoyable for both parties? So Uber was less about revolutionary tech, and more about a people-first mindset. Think about it: Who are Uber’s customers? Well, the riders, of course. But in a sense, their drivers are also their customers. Uber works hard to maintain a mobile platform that is user friendly and accessible for drivers behind the wheel, just as they work to equip their drivers to provide a stellar experience for their riders. By focusing on both driver and rider satisfaction, Uber has completely changed the way we think about not only transportation, but also customer service. Uber’s head of European business development, Fraser Robinson, sums it up: “The relationship between the driver and the rider is so symbiotic – they feed off one another...What makes this work is having happy, engaged, enthusiastic drivers. The customer will benefit by availability and having a great, engaged, quality experience.” So Uber truly is a customer experience company before it’s a tech company, proving that you don’t need a revolutionary tech idea to change the game–you need a people-first mindset.

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