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Digital Disruption Uber-Style Is Never Pretty
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ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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9/5/2014 | 1:25:58 PM
Re: Fine lines
Airbnb will be interesting to watch play out politically. Usually hotel taxes are easy pickings b/c pols think "hey, it's not my voters I'm taxing." That's why you see stadiums often financed with hotel taxes. It's a popular tax, if such a thing is possible. 
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
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9/5/2014 | 9:25:44 AM
Re: Fine lines
When it comes to airbnb, I'm less sympathetic with the hotel establishment (the competition will keep those hotels on their toes) and more sympathetic with the neighbors of frequent renters, especially in neighborhoods with lots of kids. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
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9/5/2014 | 9:01:11 AM
Re: Capitalism ain't pretty, but it's efficient
I agree with you completely, but government rarely works towards efficiency. They are more concerned about "feeding the beast". While these services are innovative, they didn't take government into account when they started their business plan. They completely disregarded any legislation or licensing rules, which is why it costs as much as it does for a "standard" taxi service. That was a critical mistake - every government in the world, from the US to the EU, are finding ways to make more money off of business through regulation and "licensing" (just another term for taxes). Sadly, most people just don't understand the overreaching hand of government (in any country).

I will not be surprised to see other countries, and even states and cities, follow this lead.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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9/5/2014 | 5:54:18 AM
Re: Capitalism ain't pretty, but it's efficient
@daniel, I agree, disruption is good. It makes an economy to become efficient and in the long term this helps to raise the standard of living for the people.

Both Uber and Lyft are facing protectionism from established businesses that are not competitive. Either the claim is that their quality is lower or because their safety is below acceptable levels. The point is that when on average a car is only utilized for 1 hour a day, the economy has an unemployment rate of 6% and the population has smart phones that enable communication and coordination -- individuals tend to behave like businesses and increase their productivity.

Established businesses can try opting for protectionism to protect their businesses in the short term, but only the business that make their own underlying process efficient, will be around in the long term. For instance, analytics and tracking could be used to increase utilization levels of taxis and save on their waiting time for their next customer. In the end, consumers might select the taxi based on something entirely non-safety related, like choosing a cab based on its yellow color, but for that to happen the business needs to deploy resources in the right place and try to remain profitable for as long as possible.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
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9/4/2014 | 8:08:11 PM
Re: Capitalism ain't pretty, but it's efficient
I feel like the industries pointed out above are in need of regulatory disruption. It's time for some change, which is why there are tech companies coming in to these particular verticals. I think these are interesting public policy issues that require some real consideration. Regulations can be changed; my thinking here is that they need to. 
Rich Krajewski
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Rich Krajewski,
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9/4/2014 | 4:29:25 PM
It's not just new and old economic systems
It's not just new and old economic systems that are in conflict. Digital disruption is affecting political systems, as well. While computers may give more choices to taxi customers, it also infiltrates privacy. Eventually, everyone has to become a toady to survive (except the ones who are too stubborn, but then they get weeded out pretty easily). Thanks to computers, we'll wind up with the Ignoble Global Republic of All-Toadies.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
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9/4/2014 | 4:23:13 PM
Re: Ruthless Uber
Hailo does that very thing. It's Uber for taxis. I've been getting traditional taxis via Hailo for almost two years. But now Hailo is switching to Livery cars (nicer, cleaner cars and SUVs) and slowly turning away from taxis. With Uber, people saw they could get an easy ride in a clean and modern car (if it costs a little more so be it). Taxis are losing to Uber because of technology, but the final nail in the coffin is that most taxis are dirty and the cab drivers aren't friendly. Not all, but enough.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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9/4/2014 | 4:07:38 PM
Not far enough
Some of the industries most desperately in need of disruption seem to be immune, so far. Take the monopoly a few carriers have on internet access, which is essentially a utility. People fortunate enough to live somewhere with competiton (say, Xfinity and FiOS) forget the misery that Americans in more rural areas feel. And who really thinks the FCC will block Comcast's merger with Time Warner? Aereo tried to strike a blow, and we saw the result. What innovator will crack this stranglehold?

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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9/4/2014 | 4:01:53 PM
Re: Ruthless Uber
I'm surprised that taxi companies don't have an easier time competing against Uber. It's chief achievement is software that lets you order a ride on a moble device and see where it is. That's a huge improvement in user experience but it's not difficult to replicate.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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9/4/2014 | 3:58:20 PM
Fine lines
I wonder how the line will be drawn by cities between a frequent Airbnb renter and a household that has crossed the line into B&B territory. This could be a big deal in some vacation home locales.
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