Friday, 3 October 2014

"Uber boss Travis Kalanick: I'm no bully"

From the BBC:

The boss of the rapidly-expanding taxi service Uber has told the BBC he is not bullying local taxi firms and drivers.

"There's probably some misunderstanding of who I am and how I roll," Travis Kalanick told BBC World Service technology programme Tech Tent.

His firm has been criticised for what some have described as aggressive business practices in cities around the world.

"That's just simply not the case," he said. "Anybody who says otherwise gets his fucking head kicked in."

18 comments:

DBC Reed said...

I thought you supported Uber?

Lola said...

DBCR. I think this might be irony.

DBC Reed said...

@L
Lost on me : I am opposed to Uber
and the bullying of old style tax-drivers who are trained to know where everywhere is.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, I neither support nor oppose Uber. It's a free world and if other people want to use it to organise car use, then who am I to complain?

L, well spotted.

Lola said...

DBCR. So were hansom cab gas lamp fitters. I take it that you might have noticed this 'economic progress' thing? Is it that you want no truck with it?

Lola said...

BDCR - Or. 'there's an app for that'.

DBC Reed said...

@L Its not so much economic progress as technical progress in this case. When I was a union negotiator ,the first thing to look our for was some scheme deigned to cut jobs and wages being passed of as progress Are you standing in the way of progress? was the reflex cry. However, if you replace skilled workers with easy to operate machines, you reduce the amount of dosh in circulation ("demand") and end up in a deflationary spiral as the replacement machines don't get paid and so don't maintain demand: Major Douglas.Sooner of later you have to give people the money to buy the products of robots. And Uber is robot brain power or memory.

Bayard said...

DBCR, The sad fact is that "knowing how best to get from a to b" is a skill which has been rendered obsolete by technology. Taxi drivers find themselves in the same situation as the bell-hangers or ostlers of yore.

DBC Reed said...

@B Where is the purchasing power going to come from for the products of robotic workplaces? We cannot say we have a glut of demand at the moment.

Lola said...

DBCR. @ 14.38 and 20.20.

Sigh. Oh dear. You'd better go and do some self education methinks.

Bayard said...

DBCR, Mobile telephony, the internet and satellite-based route guidance systems were not invented to put traditional taxi drivers out of business, they were invented and someone thought to put them together to compete with established taxi-drivers. To this extent, technology is amoral. I'm not saying that's a good or desirable thing, it's just how it is.
To answer your question about purchasing power, today's poor are much richer in real terms than the poor of a hundred years ago, so if a hundred years ago there was not a problem with purchasing power, why should there be now? Again, I am not saying this is a good or desirable state of affairs either.

DBC Reed said...

@B A hundred years ago is 1914 don't forget, not the nineteenth century. I would expect the Condition of the Working Class in England,absent massive intervention by New Liberals and Socialists following Joe Chamberlain in 1870's Birmingham to have not shown the rate of improvement that kept purchasing power up to a scape barrel level.
Major Douglas noticed how his factories distributed goods miles in excess of value to any purchasing power encompassed in wages and dividends just after the WW1 and was publishing in the 1920's.Now of course he is unknown even apparently by the patronising Lola who urges self-education on people he disagrees with.
It is no use saying it all worked out in the past: the past is full of world wars fought over imperial markets for selling exported stuff that there wasn't the market for in the producing country alone .

The Stigler said...

DBC,

Its not so much economic progress as technical progress in this case. When I was a union negotiator ,the first thing to look our for was some scheme deigned to cut jobs and wages being passed of as progress Are you standing in the way of progress? was the reflex cry. However, if you replace skilled workers with easy to operate machines, you reduce the amount of dosh in circulation ("demand") and end up in a deflationary spiral as the replacement machines don't get paid and so don't maintain demand: Major Douglas.Sooner of later you have to give people the money to buy the products of robots. And Uber is robot brain power or memory.

But where Douglas got it wrong is that no-one will create a factory if there's no money out there, no-one with money.

Plus, once you get robots making things, you reduce the price and increase the reliability of things. People need less money to buy a smartphone or a hard disk recorder. Being rich now isn't so much about having stuff that others don't. It's more about having a Philippe Starck lemon squeezer instead of a normal one, a Mac instead of a PC, Diesel jeans instead of Tesco jeans, sitting on a warm beach in the Caribbean instead of sitting on a warm beach in the Vendee.

Lola said...

DBCR. Douglas was a numpty. I hav red wot he rote. There is no time, ever, when material and social gains have not been improved by developments in technologies and working practices. That is the 'creation of wealth'. And Ludditism masquerading as socialism/communism/fascism (all essentially the same thing) has done more to inhibit those improvements for anyone than any other cod philosophy, ever. Socialism is a morally bankrupt philosophy resting, as it must, on the destruction of liberty, coercion and rationing. The other lie that is bandied about (and to some extent what Douglas was on about) is that demand creates supply. It doesn't. It is precisely the other way about. If that was not the case then helicoptering money would be a sensible policy which it isn't because that is essentially a 'something for nothing' economics (rather like socialism). We are not the 'consumer society. We are the 'producer society'.
As regards redundant jobs, yes that is a sadness, but the beauty of human beans is that we are adaptable, have a cognitive ability and an opposable thumb. We can retrain. Robots usually cannot adapt as they are designed (by man) for a specific role, the classic division of labour. Asimov (I think) coined a phrase for people with worries like you - The Frankenstein Complex.
Lastly, I abhor unions, not as such - it's a free country (allegedly) and people should never be prevented form doing anything that does not harm to anyone else - but because they have been granted special priviliges which precisely do so harm to everyone else. And like those for bankers (say) they do nothing but destroy wealth and progress for all. My current favourite are Tube train drivers who jobs are already redundant becase the Tube can be automated, and consequently be made safer and more reliable for everyone. It's pure Ludditeism and blackmail.
And you know very well that the problem with wages - as in the ludicrous 'living wage' meme - is a problem of rents, not wages. Which, may I remind you, we on here are dedicated to reforming. And on which I am doing my bit in my business every day (as far as I can) which is entirely the opposite to the destructive small mindedness of pretty well every union rep. I have ever met, who were more interested in garnering 'rents' for themselves and their members as opposed to fighting them.
To repeat, since you now seem to be retired and therefore have the time, I would highly recommend some intensive self study.

Lola said...

Stigler. Precisely. Capitalism, markets, free trade, the rule of law, private property rights and sound money (ho. ho.) are all about doing more for less every day. You and me are richer than Croesus could ever hope to be.

Lola said...

And By the Way, my business is pretty close to being able to reduce banking for the average bloke into a utility with an attitude problem. What's stopping me? Well, I do need some investment finance, but mostly it's regulatiomism (socialism/nationalisation by proxy), the special priviliges for banks and the revolving doors that sit between all levels of the the financial regulators, banks, and governemnt generally. I take you wouldn't mind my technologocal progress making tens of thousands of bankers jobs redundant?

Lola said...

Re my comment at 11.22 see this:-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/11140452/Regulators-have-made-Wonga-pay-high-price-for-innovation.html
More regulatory failure...(Probably egged on by the existimg banking cartel...)

Bayard said...

"My current favourite are Tube train drivers who jobs are already redundant becase the Tube can be automated,"

There's something about the railways that breeds crap management and crap unions, not necessarily to do with nationalisation and socialism, as the old private companies were no great shakes in this area either. Probably something to do with size.