Why Uber is a better social network than Facebook
2 min read
I recently took a trip to Silicon Valley. I will tell you more about what I learned there in my next post…
As soon as I got to San Jose Airport and got off the plane, I requested my first Uber. The app quickly prompted me to select Uber Pool for 3 bucks. I had heard of it but never used it. We don't have Pool in Raleigh, NC. I was like "Well this sounds cool". Of course, I said yessir. I took that Uber ride and headed to Stanford. I didn't end up sharing it with anyone else, which I thought was a plus. So I said, "Huh, this is actually cool".
The reality is that I have never been too into talking to my Uber drivers or the idea of sharing a ride with strangers.
A couple hours after I was done at Stanford and decided to head out to my Airbnb. Needed an Uber — What did I do? Yep. I requested Uber Pool again. Although, this time I did have to share my ride with two other human beings.
When the Uber got to pick me up, he opened with "Hey! so do they speak Spanish in Venezuela?". For a second I thought this guy might be Snowden or something. How could he know? I had just hopped in the car and never told him I was Venezuelan. But then I realized he was talking to the two girls I was sharing my ride with.
Yes, it took me like an hour in Silicon Valley to meet two strangers from my country. That must be a record. Long story short I ended up going to get dinner with these two girls after meeting them in this Uber ride. They were interning for different startups in the area and we joined some of their friends who were doing the same. We became friends quickly after.
The lightbulb went off. This is brilliant!
Uber Pool is not about ride-hailing, it's a social network. A real one, where you actually meet people you probably wouldn't have met otherwise. You are pretty much forced to talk to strangers and create connections in a quick ride.
I literally took Uber Pool the rest of my trip. I ended up meeting way too many Facebook interns. Hence, the title of this post (wouldn't have met them through Facebook, right?). I met employees from Tesla. I met people from all over the world. I met former Google Execs. I even got a job offer at a tech company after an Uber Pool conversation.
It was the first time I ever used Uber Pool so I wasn’t really sure how it worked. Now I realize, I was probably the only person in California who hadn’t used Uber Pool before. I must say if you’ve never used Pool before, you have to. Unless, you’re in a hurry. It might take you longer to get to a place if too many people request it at the same time. |just saying|
Through this experience is when I finally realized the monopoly Uber has built around ride-sharing. Uber has quickly ascended as the highest valued private company in the world.
The way Uber executed on Pool is only a now old sneak peak into the company's dynamism. We see how they're at the verge of launching their autonomous fleet and how they're partnering with hospitals. It seems like the company is finally demonstrating the reason for their insane valuation. It seems like they will only get bigger, especially after their latest dispute with Lyft.