A Beginner’s Guide to Uber Everything

Ron Goldin
Nov 18, 2016 · 9 min read

My heart skipped a beat when I saw that I had a delivery request. I nervously and excitedly hit “Accept.”

I headed to a neighborhood liquor store, greeted the owner and picked up a bag. A few blocks away, I used the app to connect with the lucky recipient: a friendly, scruffy gentleman who stepped out of his ad agency to greet me. He was super pumped — it turns out my delivery was a bottle of champagne from his sister to celebrate his 30th birthday. I checked his ID and handed him the gift. It made his day, and I felt like a bit of a hero for it.

My first Uber delivery.

A startup within a startup

I work on the Uber Everything team, which is best described as a rapidly growing startup within Uber. While “Uber for X” has become shorthand in pitch meetings and investor rounds across the world, Uber Everything is “Uber for X”, except for actually made by Uber.

Driver partners come in to Uber’s Greenlight Centers for help with the signup process. The team is currently thinking about novel ways delivery partners can benefit from in-person support as well.
Me going on a real delivery to feel what it’s like to be a delivery partner and test the tools. We build special tools to make picking up and dropping off a little easier, by giving you in-app guidance on where to go inside actual businesses, where to meet the customer and support when dealing with the unexpected.

Designing for a new kind of Uber partner

Uber partners are a diverse group of people with a broad range of lifestyles and goals — from college kids looking to make some extra summer cash to parents feeding families. As a one-time business owner myself, I really respect those who pursue the dream of working on their own schedule and value the flexibility of being their own boss.

WHY DO DELIVERY

To design for the diversity of our markets, designers and researchers embed in the field with ride-alongs, interviews, and solo deliveries, in cities throughout the world. We also learn and validate our learnings quantitatively through our massive network and collaboration with data scientists.

THE FASTEST WAY TO EARN

At Uber, no designer is an island. Subject matter experts from business to data to driver operations are brought into the fold for design sprints, critiques, and generating creative solutions to business problems. Designers also build extensible patterns and platforms that other designers can then leverage and evolve.

HELPING PARTNERS WORK EASIER & BETTER

One important area of our team’s product focus is helping delivery partners access the information they need to complete trips with confidence. We do a great deal of research with delivery partners to better understand both what they love and what could be improved about using Uber. For delivery, we heard that pickup and dropoff means not only knowing your way around the streets, but knowing your way around the inside of buildings for both pickup and drop off, which can be tough.

Wenjun, a product designer on the Uber Everything team, pinning up product headlines that celebrate some product experiences we brainstormed with partners during a design session.
With UberEATS and UberRUSH, Delivery partners now have more ways to earn. partners can use their cars to drive Riders or Delivery depending on what they feel like doing.
In some cities in Asia, motorcycles are ubiquitous and become a natural choice to get around quickly, both for Delivery and Riders.
Each city has its unique challenge. In New York City, traffic congestion and parking make delivery by bike a popular choice.

Small Company Thinking, Big Company Resources

In my 12 years as a product designer, I’ve gone from working with very large companies to very small companies to Uber. At larger companies, I was often part of teams looking to shake things up with new ventures and experiments. When I first worked with scrappy, fast-growing startups about 6 years ago (including an early-stage Uber), I fell in love with the rapid experimentation, learning and iteration. I loved solving big, multi-faceted problems (vs. small pieces of a larger problem).

A New York Lens on Delivery

Though many people think of Uber as a Silicon Valley company, Uber has offices throughout the world that leverage regional strengths. Our New York product team takes advantage of the density and diversity of America’s biggest city to learn first-hand about the range of challenges and situations a delivery and logistics service might have to face. Like the song says: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.


We’re hiring

Ten weeks into my tenure at Uber, I recall a new colleague my first week teaching me a new phrase: “Uber Years”. “Uber Years” are like dog years, in that time feels compressed. Uber is a place for people who are excited and invigorated by growth and change — a week’s worth of activity can feel like a month at another company.

Uber Design

We are passionate about the pursuit of ideas that put people first. Work with us: uber.com/design. Follow us on Twitter: @DesigningUber.

Ron Goldin

Written by

Product Design @ Google. Ex-Uber, Ex-Microsoft. Views are my own. Work at http://rongoldin.com

Uber Design

We are passionate about the pursuit of ideas that put people first. Work with us: uber.com/design. Follow us on Twitter: @DesigningUber.