Do a search for “Uber is just a taxi company” or variations thereof and you will see how successfully Uber has managed to avoid being called a Taxi Company.
Google’s first result is an answer in Quora from a Uber Employee that says “Uber is a company that provides a technological platform to request on-demand near real time services from a smartphone.” — probably accurate but pretty boring.
Granted that today’s Uber has a vision way beyond where it started — but by NOT looking at Uber as a taxi company we miss an important piece of insight into the nature of disruption and business opportunity.
My own experience (and I just rode Uber thrice) and what I heard from friends who recommended it went something like “I just picked up the phone, ordered a car in the vicinity, and it was cheap and had a great driver — and best of all I did not have to deal with cash or lost expense receipts”.
I will argue that what Uber successfully established in its early life was an outstanding User Experience(more correctly; Service Experience) that went fluidly through from ‘search’ all the way to the ease of handling expense receipts — low costs, well spoken drivers and quality cars are just a part of the experience.
My thesis is that while others before and hence have sought to build a “technological platform to request on-demand near real time services” the disruptive nature of Uber is at its core : one of transforming the user experience of a moribund industry — from start to finish.
If you hold that thought and you see some of the other ‘brands’ that have disrupted industries recently such as AirBnB, Apple’s iPhone or FarFetch you will also see that these are fundamentally different from other emerging disruptions such as the rise of AI, Big Data or Bots.
There is a substantial investment thesis for disrupting industries and opening up new opportunities for all participants through enhancing the User Experience — whether they be in the 130 Billion Dollar Gift Card market (that is a big number, eh?) or the 100 Billion Dollar Cloud Applications market (as we are attempting to do with DISTRIBOOTED : The App Store for the Cloud).
When building platform such as we are doing at DISTRIBOOTED we can easily get lost in the worlds of Containers, Resource Scheduling, Universal Installers, Cloud Management, VPCs & Bastions. You ask yourself is there anything that we can hold on to, to ensure you create enduring value?
As the tag line of SurfKitchen (one of the companies I founded) said — It’s the EXPERIENCE.
And as we learnt with Uber — The Experience is worth 50Billion Dollars.