The A$%#ole We Need
Fletcher Young

While you offer a compelling case highlighting Uber’s benefits, unfortunately the argument is fundamentally based on a strict utilitarian view — that the ends justify the means. Personally, I am a great fan of what Uber has done for both work and transport. However I fear you fail to understand the fundamental meaning of #deleteuber.

Any product purchase is an endorsement of an organisation in whole. A purchase of Uber is not only consuming the service, it is also feeding the organisation that created the service. Enabling it to grow and thrive. Customers flock to Uber because of the performance of the service. They now leave because they do not desire to feed the organisation that created it.

This was perhaps best stated by an Uber driver I met before the most recent wave of #deleteuber arrived:

“It doesn’t make sense that they should treat women so poorly. 60% of my customers are women. They prefer an Uber to a bus or a train on a night out. They feel safer with Uber.”

#DeleteUber rises because both women and men will not in good conscience support a culture that actively degrades those it employees and unfairly restricts career prospects. While the service conveys many benefits, contributing to the organisation becomes a threat to people’s livelihoods. If we spend our money with organisations that are poorly run, those will be the organisations that win and eventually employ us. Hence the response against supporting Uber.

There is no question Travis has done exceptional work. Difficult work. However, organisations must be measured on how they achieve results, not only on the results they achieve. In that measure, he has substantial challenges. For while he built a large organisation, he did not build a sustainable organisation. The Uber organisation as it sits today, not only empowers some people, it also consumes others. Using the Uber application now means one tacitly supports that double standard. No longer is it getting from Point A to Point B, it is now getting from Point A to Point B and generating margin for a company that actively and intentionally discriminates against women. That is what #DeleteUber is about.

It doesn’t matter if you win the best time in the Tour if you didn’t follow the rules on restricted chemicals.

Finally, with regard the “assholes we need”, I will offer you the legacy of Steve Jobs. While Steve Jobs was a tremendous innovator and leader, he also quietly colluded with other Silicon Valley executives under the no-poaching policy. That policy effectively transfers value from workers to companies, as it restricts competition in the market and depresses overall wages. While your answer may be that Silicon Valley wages are high enough in comparison to other wages and the employees must be happy as they choose to stay at Apple, the reality is that you cannot count the value of lost sales. We do not know a world in which Silicon Valley employees had free market competition for wages during that period. What we do know is that Apple and others received advantages at the cost of their employee’s true market value. In a utilitarian view, the justification can be that which is good for Apple, is good for the Valley. However, if you were one of the workers who never received a better offer from a competitor because of that agreement, you may be comparatively worse off than you may have been otherwise.

As always in these matters, if you cannot see the bias, then the bias is also your own…

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