Uber Everything!

Rev. David Baunach

2022.07.12

The business model of Uber has been intriguing to me since they launched in 2009.

A cab company that didn't own any vehicles, didn't really have employees, but offered employment with a low threshold of
requirements: a vehicle and a drivers license.

This also allowed for some immediate savings on the part of customers using the service: all Uber needed to exist was a
slim commission, while the rest of the fare went to the driver.

Boiling it down: Uber was able to get rid of a lot of the managerial bloat which bogs down most traditional companies,
and keeping things lean by essentially contracting out as many positions as possible, to keep prices to a minimum, and
thus allowing them to expand at a ridiculous rate.

The Model

This model can only work using a protocol or application layer to remove basic management from the equation.

There are three layers: necessary management (legal team, tech support and development, customer service, executive staff),
the app or protocol, and the workers.

What is stopping us from using this model in other fields?

Use it for Everything!

I've had various ideas over the years about where this model could be used. I'd say my two best were for urban farming, and
for journalism. I'll give a brief explanation of these two, but ultimately, I think the model could be used for literally
everything we use traditional business models for now.

Urban Farming:

Front lawns are wasted space, imagine being able to rent out your lawn, someone grows crops on it, and you get a cut of the
profits once they are harvested and sold.

On the company side of things, same as Uber, all they're really doing is connecting people that want to urban farm, with
people who want to rent out their yards.

It'll probably be a little more akin to AirBnB, since there will need to be more communication between the farmers and those
renting out their yards, but all that could easily be accomplished through an app.

And it will tie in well with existing infrastructure: farmers markets will have produce being grown literally in it's own
backyard, and those who want to get into urban farming without owning land will have an option.

Journalism:

Imagine that anyone, in the vicinity of a news-worthy event, could immediately report on the basic who, what, when, and where
or that event, and get reimbursed for that reporting.

Again, just like Uber, the company part just has to connect those that are willing to make such reports, with those that want
that information.

It also ties into existing infrastructure: major news articles will get the basic information faster, can run their stories
quicker, and independent fact checkers will have open access to verify that info.

In this case a subscription or ad based revenue model would probably be necessary, and great care would need to be taken in
dispersal of those funds to the reporters who make genuinely helpful reports, but these are difficulties that can be overcome,
not insurmountable problems.

Conclusion:

The Uber model of using technology to connect independent contractors with customers, with the company in between only providing
the necessary services in connecting the two, is a method that can be widely used. I gave the examples of urban farming and
journalism, but really, the sky is the limit. My hope is we'll see many fields of business embrace this model in the coming years.

Comments