Two years ago, I felt like I’d gained a superpower. I’d just taken my first e-bike ride and my commute was forever changed. Suddenly I was able to dart through traffic, get to my destination faster, and spend less, all without breaking a sweat.

It was one of those moments you later realize was indicative of a broader trend, sort of like the first time I used Windows 95 (everyone getting access to computers), the iPhone (super computers in our pockets), or Uber (almost anything on demand).

Within a few weeks, I’d bought a used e-bike and became a full fledged participant in the budding revolution of Micromobility. …

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These are some of the design opportunities we’re focused on today and will be for years to come

2018 has been a year of meaningful change on the Sonder design team. We launched a new visual identity, hired the core of our team and moved from being reactive to proactive in our work. These aren’t small changes, but we’re just getting started. Next year we’ll hit our stride, and in 2020 we’ll sprint as we scale.

A piece of clarity we gained in 2018 are the 5 specific challenges/opportunities we need to solve for while we create this new category of hospitality. …

Last week my run at Uber ended. Deciding to leave a company that I’d learned so much from and loved being a part of was one of the hardest decisions of my career. Many sleepless nights were involved. Ultimately I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and see if I could apply all I’d learned in a new environment.

Being principled in my search

Whenever I need to make a hard choice, I’ve found putting together some principles helps me make better decisions. For this search, I knew there were a handful of things I wanted in my next opportunity:

  1. Operations heavy — The secret sauce of Uber has always been the ops teams in every one of the 700+ cities. People talk about the magic of Uber and that is largely because of the work of the operators around the globe. Also, an ops-heavy business is harder to clone, so differentiation is built in. That power of what an ops team can do is something I wanted to continue to be able to work with. …

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When work began on Uber Freight a year and a half ago, I was excited to have even a small impact on such an important industry. The movement of everything around us — from clothes, to food, to furniture — happens with the semi trucks you see along the highways of the world. In the US alone, the trucking industry is a $700 billion annual market, providing more than 3 million jobs to drivers.

While there’s a good deal of tech already in the industry, it’s fragmented and inefficient. That inefficiency has a cost; a human one. As we’ve come to learn, truck drivers are the ones that end up short-changed when the existing system fails. With Uber Freight, the service we create can help advance how this industry works, but also have significant ramifications for the economy as a whole. …

Predictability and a feeling of progress towards a goal is something we all want. When something happens outside of your control and forces a change in course, it can be hard.

My team experienced this a while back. It was the end of the summer in 2016 and we were designing unique product for Uber’s customers in China as a part of the China Growth team. Things were great, but on a warm Sunday evening, it was announced Uber China would merge with Didi Chuxing. Suddenly our work ended in an instant.

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The China Growth Design Team

After that restless night, the following morning brought massive change to the team. We were all incredibly fortunate to find welcoming new homes elsewhere at Uber, but we were left with a lot of questions, none bigger than: What new purpose would we dedicate ourselves to? Working on China was more than a job, it was a passion that we put everything we had into every day. We all had our own reasons for feeling so dedicated. Some were excited to reconnect with a culture they’d left as children while others wanted to see a western tech company have success in China. I was driven by a desire to bring China and the U.S. closer through our work, helping shine a light on the misconceptions our countries often have about each other. Replacing that void — and finding the reason to head into work everyday — wouldn’t be easy. …

So many stories to reflect on from working with Travis over the last three and a half years. From my first interactions with him at our Friday Growth meetings to jamming with him over a long weekend on how to bring Uber to drivers and riders across China.

Folks outside Uber generally have a perception of him that deviates far from reality. Yes, he was a fighter. Yes, he could be brash. And yes, he certainly made his mistakes. All of us do, especially those of us that build a 14,000 person global company over the course of 7 years. …

Making coffee in the morning. Above all, this is the thing that grounds me (ha!) and gets me ready for the day. The Chemex pour over is my go-to method.

  1. Heat .75l of water
  2. Weigh 37.5g of beans
  3. Grind the beans
  4. Get the Chemex paper filter a bit damp
  5. Pour the 200°F water onto the grounds (bloom first)

This works great at home, but I found whenever I used to travel (especially internationally), everything fell apart. The espresso-based drinks the rest of the world favors get old pretty quick for me. I like my coffee black and do not enjoy Americanos. …

Designing magical experiences is a local effort.

Uber was imagined as a private driver that appears at the tap of a button. And, since your private driver would never ask you to hand over money at the end of your ride — neither would driver-partners using the Uber platform. An elegant and hassle-free exit has always been core to the Uber experience.

The Uber Design team is always looking for ways to improve the Uber app for both our riders and driver-partners. And on the India product team, our job is to unlock growth by removing barriers and eliminating friction-points specific to our Indian users. …

Catch me now as I fall into what might be a trap: praising and linking to internet content marketing. I have to though, because the blog is so relevant for tech workers and has had a dramatic influence on my life.

That link is to the best career advice I’ve ever received which is from the Wealthfront blog in a post titled How Do I Choose Where To Work? It features a quote that I often share with young designers:

“You get more credit than you deserve for being part of a successful company, and less credit than you deserve for being part of an unsuccessful company.”

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If you can name and visualize your fears, they’re usually not as horrifying as you’ve imagined.

Here’s a trick to use whenever you’re confronted with a significant decision: Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if things go wrong.

You might be surprised that the worst outcome can also bring along many beneficial side effects. Your company failed? Sure, you lost some money, but the lessons you learned are irreplaceable. Your girlfriend left you? Maybe now you know how to love.

This mind hack can be used to move somewhere you’ve never visited, change careers, start companies and anything else outside your comfort zone. …


Matthew Moore

Head of Design at Lime | Ex-Uber

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