Open letter to Gary Vaynerchuk and other investors of Uber

I’m writing this rant because of the recent BuzzFeed article I read on what Uber drivers actually make from driving and what Uber as a company advertises they’ll make. A huge discrepancy between the two. I also felt the need to write this piece because Gary Vaynerchuk, a great all-around business guy and founder of VaynerMedia, talks a lot about “doing the right” thing yet openly shares he’s an investor in Uber and is friends with it’s founder, Travis Kalanick. This talk of “doing the right thing” and learning what drivers really make, as well as constantly reading of drivers signing up and then not actually earning what Uber advertises, all makes me think “how is this ethical?”. How can an investor who talks about doing the right thing and providing value first and foremost, invest in a company thats ethics are clearly not aligned with what they’re preaching themselves. Gary V seems to be a great guy and I’m assuming he’s just not aware of how poorly drivers are paid and treated. I don’t think he realizes, but sharing that he’s an Uber investor is likely hurting his brand as more and more articles come out about the dark-side of Uber. As a follower and fan of Gary as well as owning all his books, I’m deeply conflicted when it comes to him and anyone else promoting value and good morals, to be involved with a company that has none. This makes me wonder how many other Uber investors there are out there that don’t really know the ethically confused company they’re involved with. Those reading this can and will argue that Uber drivers know what they’re getting into and that it’s only a part-time gig, and shouldn’t be looked at as anything else, but how is Uber allowed to advertise that drivers which make much more when it’s a fact that some even make less than minimum wage. It’s like a student who’s looking for a part time job being sucked in by an MLM company with promises of big money.

I feel what’s really happening at Uber is that drivers are signing up and soon realizing they aren’t making what was advertised to them initially and then soon quitting, but by the time they’ve quit another 100 drivers have signed up and are coming to the same realization. It’s a constant cycle that I believe is what keeps Uber afloat with drivers because who doesn’t like the idea of making “$30/hour” on your own time.

I hope riders of Uber have a chance to read that article from BuzzFeed and realize how little drivers make on the platform and to have less expectations of them. It’s really not feasible for drivers to constantly run their AC, provide water for free, among many other luxuries Uber would like you to offer in make the riders experience better. Maybe Uber needs to increase the fares slightly and they’d be surprised at how much this has an effect in overall customer satisfaction. What will be really interesting is when more ride-share competition comes into the game like Juno and Teo for example, who promise to treat drivers much better than Uber does. When another ride-share company is created because the opportunity to treat drivers better exists, you know there’s a definite problem with the ethics of Uber.

What’s going on is not right and something should be done about it. For now, I’m discontinuing the use of Uber as a rider and looking forward to other actual ethical companies coming into the ride-share game. I, unlike Gary V and investors like him, cannot get behind such a f*cked up company. I wrote this rant very quickly on my phone so please don’t mind any grammar errors.

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