Nope, I’m Not Cool with Uber If My Driver Is Only Making $2.89 An Hour. Screw That.

A worldwide call for dignity & freedom in our on demand world.


This has been a hell of a week. Last Saturday, Uber cut pay to their drivers in over 100 cities. Some cities were cut by 45%. That is a brutal demotion for many people that have stellar ratings.

So we wrote up a little website on Medium called NotCoolUber.com and shared it with some friends. They shared it with their friends and within 7 days over 10,000 people had seen it. 😳

We learned so much. As it turns out some companies like Uber just don’t really give a shit about their workers. These companies are so focused on maximizing their revenue to show to potential investors that they forget about the 99.9945% of good people that are actively powering their business.

Some people, and some companies just DGAF

We tried to ask Travis, the CEO. But never heard back. We tried again. And again. And again for Detroit. We even showed him our research work. We even invited him to come join us in a discussion on Product Hunt Live. We even asked his investors to look at this huge red flag and to do something. We asked them again.

But nothing worked.

Honestly, I don’t think these guys really give a shit.

I don’t think Travis cares. It has been abundantly clear by the fact that he has cut incomes six times. Our early research shows that 95.8% of pay cuts in 2015 were permanent. And we have called on UberData to please assist us in freeing up the entire data set of all the 311 cities in the past 3 years.

Bottom line is that I don’t think Travis really cares about his temp driver workforce of over 1.1 million people. They are disposable workers to him. That sucks. I mean come on, in the US 45% of uber drivers have familes to support. There is such a focus on the future Robocar that we forget about the hard working people that are doing this work right now.

But whatever. That is his “freedom of choice” thing that everybody loves to talk about. In America today I guess you are free to be an asshole to a million people if you want too.

What I am learning is that you just can’t force people to care. It just never works. Sarah Lacey and Pando Daily helped me realize this when they covered our nice guy fight with Travis.

This is a complex issue. People deserve the utmost dignity and respect. And many consumers just don’t care.

I honestly think that we are seeing early signs of this thing called “apploitation”. And we should just stand up and set the line right here.

There is a lot of truth in all the comments I have been getting. I can’t even tell you how many capitalistic focused tech guys have reached out to me and have pushed on the “free market” theory of working with workers. You know for the most part they are correct.

“Freedom of choice” is a very real thing. People have the ability to choose. They can often just walk away from shitty deals. And when they see something like self driving cars heading right towards them they should all know that the good times can’t roll on forever.

I just got to a point this week when I just realized we needed to cut Travis off. He needed to be fired. It just wasn’t working out. We have tried and tried for year after year. 2016 would be different. So I reached out and let him down as softly as I could:

Sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade and move on

My Four Point Commitment

I’m not just going to be the guy that moans on Twitter for a week about all this. I want to stand up with my fellow drivers proponents of worker dignity and do something. I can’t change the world. But I can change me. And so here exactly what I am going to do:

The Challenge
Awesome, thanks for standing up Brandon!

1. #TipEveryTime: I am going to commit to tipping on every ride share ride I take. Even if it is just a little tip.

2. Support Taxi’s and Lyft: I am going exercise that beautiful “freedom of choice” and switch from using Uber to supporting Taxis and Lyft at this time (but I don’t know, Lyft is cutting wages too) Also I wanted to ask all taxi drivers to please make

3. Help a Brother Out: I am going to proactively ask my fellow drivers how they are doing and if they need any help offer to have them join our free online communities for drivers.

4. Challenge: Oh and I am also going to challenge my friends and the tech community to think much more deeply about this important issue. We are all in this together. I think it is time to start thinking about everybody being part of the tech world. You don’t have to have a messenger bag slung across your shoulders to be able to directly access world class technology and communication tools.

From Dallas to Detroit, normal folks are picking up their smartphones and logging in. Connecting with the growing group of over 30,000 tech connected drivers.

Come join our group for drivers and people that support them

We have launched a “zero profit” community of good people that are willing to work with others. We all have a shared humanity and I think it is high time we realize the importance of treating others with respect and dignity.

Our group costs nothing, pays the volunteers nothing, but yet I believe we do so much. Our goals are to help out any rideshare or on demand worker in the world that needs access to technology or a bit of support. We are working actively towards placing people in better jobs and opportunities. We are giving them full acess to information so they can have their own “freedom of choice.” And maybe most importantly we are building a warm community where people actually care about eachother. We DO give a shit.


Conclusion

Honestly, I don’t have all the answers. But I don’t have too. My job is simply to surge this issue forward right now. This is one of the most interesting and defining topics of our modern time. We are literally rewriting the rules for the “future of work.”

Going forward I am going to be volunteering to work directly with The Drivers who have had their incomes decimated by Uber (and Lyft seems to following the same plan). We have already setup our community and we invite everybody to join us. Hell, we are even going to invite some Uber employees who want to actively help people to come join us. There are some really smart people over there. And I know many actually do care.

So yea, I very much appreciate your attention this week. It really meant a lot. Thanks for the support.


Research

If you would like to see the results of our research over the past week you can check out two important sources. The first is NotCoolUber.com and the second is scrolling through my @DaveCraige Twitter feed. (There are LOT of tweets that pertain to this issue.