In-between shenanigans, Uber actually offers a pretty nice car service, and users are about to get a perk besides free water: points from chi-chi hotelier Starwood.
A few years ago I wrote about a blog about a book by Jeff Jarvis called What Would Google Do? In fact I wrote a few and this was one of them https://solomoconsulting.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/what-would-google-do/.
I still strongly recommend the read as a look at your business, because it forces you to think about your business through a new lens which very few people do. If you follow my blogs you will see some common trends, obviously location based systems is one of the main ones, but another is that business has to continually evolve and change, because that’s what your customers are doing.
In my blogs I looked at the demise of many of the businesses that I have grown up with and loved, like Borders Book Stores and Sounds Music. I believe that if the directors and managers of those businesses had applied the principles that Jeff Jarvis gave as examples for various industries from banking to airlines, those businesses wouldn’t just be still running, they would be thriving.
So here we have the taxi industry under threat by Uber. They protest and demand that Uber be banned to another planet. My suggestion is why not thank Uber for the great new ideas, pick them up and do better. Newcomers always focus on price, but if you talk to Uber customers, or customers of any goods and services, price is rarely the number one factor in the decision making. It’s meeting other needs.
Things Uber does well for example is the location based apps, you can see where they are, you have an agreed price, you might have someone interesting to talk to (perhaps one that knows the area they are driving in and can speak English).
The major taxi companies have phenomenal intelligence systems, years of development and great technology. Some of the senior management in these companies have great vision but rarely get to use it. I don’t understand what the handbrakes are, but they are one of the reasons that companies like Uber get in. As I have blogged before, I suspect that the reason Borders isn’t in this country anymore and why in countries like Canada they are making margin our of cuddly toys and general merchandise is because of accountants totally focused on stock turn and aged stock, or managers wanting to have every book ever written about gluten intolerance in stock in each store. We aren’t buying less books or music and people still like to shop. I by a lot of books from Amazon, both physical and digital, but I don’t want to wait a week to get them.
So my rant for the day is, if you are in business, especially a larger business, read What Would Google Do? Get your staff to read it. Then do some brainstorming and ask yourselves, what would you do differently? What do your customers want? What would make them choose you, EVEN if you charge more?
Then come back and tell me what you learned and what you are going to change.