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A Summary of

The Thing I Love Most About Uber

Bill Gurley
Above The Crowd
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  • The most elegant feature of Uber is its flexibility. Driver-partners decide when and where they want to work on their own time. 
  • Criticisms of the gig economy highlight its lack of structured benefits for workers. However, the gig economy has a unique worker autonomy that does not exist in other industries.

Three Types of Drivers

  • A report by Adam Jonas highlighted three types of Uber drivers that he encountered, each with a unique life situation that would not accommodate for a 9 to 5:
    • The Veteran: retired US army veteran who needed flexibility to take care of her daughters while working.
    • The Student: college student supporting a family who wanted flexible hours to accomodate his schedule and family.
    • The Dean: dean of students of a charter school in the area who began Ubering to make extra cash around his time at the school.

Reports on Uber and Independent Work

  • Most drivers work with Uber for flexibility around their schedule. Most work less than 15 hours a week, driving for supplemental income.
  • The size of the independent workforce is quite large. Most work by choice and for supplemental income. They report high levels of satisfaction.
  • Uber’s model also works because the demand for drivers peaks at time windows that are convenient for drivers that work for supplemental income. 
  • Uber also pays the driver immediately when their money is earned.
  • There are many situations in which flexible supplemental income is beneficial: job-searchers, stay-at-home parents, students, etc.
  • Independent work could also have benefits for the economy by cushioning unemployment and improving labor force participation.

Concluding Thoughts

  • All Uber work is voluntary, and people are choosing to become driver-partners.
  • Independent work that allows workers to determine their own schedules is a revolutionary notion that Uber has brought into the popular consciousness.
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