Almost inadvertently, the associated tycoons of the tech industry continue a relentless assault on the demeanor of the human race in simply not just changing the rules of the game, but restructuring the entire foundation of the game itself in earning record products by heedlessly casting volatile technological innovation upon society. It is like the case of the fundamentally flawed genius stumbling and staggering through the basic courtship of social interaction, and while the brilliant individual is capable of hacking into bank computer systems with the elegance of Bach, due to the course awkwardness surrounding building healthy relationships, there will always be something missing when assessing reality.
The basic logic behind Lyft, which IPO’d last Friday, and chief competitor Uber, which is expected to go public in the next month, is solid if not ingenuitive as a viable business model, but scratch the surface and employ evaluation methodologies, and the flaws and irregularities are omnipresent, if not the sickening color of the iconic florescent pink mustache, beckoning riders from the far north reaches of the realm of the Inuit. The numbers don’t lie, Lyft lost $911 million in 2018, and Uber even fared worse being in the red for a staggering $1.8 billion, which has the financial experts and investors scratching their heads alike as to the stock actually being publicly traded, a conundrum of concerns that has breached the core of green movement backers.
While the younger generations do not balk at the availability and convenience of the ride share app providing transportation to the vast playgrounds funded by tech salaries, the all-in opt out loss of consumer rights which dissipate in the immediate aftermath of being activated on the device, is responded to with a snarky obliviousness. Apparently, giving away legal ground in forfeiting a trial, and inadequate liability insurance coverage and guaranteed protections in the unforeseen aftermath of an accident are not priorities when securing a safe option between destinations, not to mentioned being weaned off using cash transactions. Traditional livery ventures are stringently regulated by government in the form of license and bonded requirements, full liability coverage for passengers, and the ominous presence of union affiliations, which equates to billions of dollars being spent outside of the vehicle, driver, and the customer. Uber and Lyft in many instances are not required to have a minimum standard of operations, leaving the rider at the whim of state-by-state laws which pertain to a ride share relationship, rather than offering the basic protections of a business to client arrangement. The troubling caveat to the glaring loophole is that both tech transportation behemoths, possess a strict no-firearm or weapons policy in leaving the vehicle a glaring advertisement to the criminal element that there exists a low risk and high reward consistent stream of possible paydays, interwoven amidst the daily and nightly traffic pattern. The Second Amendment is an afterthought at corporate headquarters and throughout the driving network.
The immediate future for the ride share industry will eventually endure the wrath of local and state government, as politicians devise methods to tax the business model, but the biggest threat to the future of device facilitated ground transportation is with the vehicle itself. Uber has recently pushed for and influx of self-driving vehicles to infiltrate the crowded urban roadways, in an aggressive attempt to replace the human element with a completely automated vending system of modernized nightmarish taxi service. With lives lost and monies recklessly spent in irrational live road testing, the shoddy record of accountability screams to investors to steer clear of the venture completely in avoiding a violent collision of overengineering, the prevalence of ideology and the possibility of long-term financial turmoil. However, the temptation for the continued presence of venture capital comes from the data processed from each ride completed in building a complex and telling heatmap of human behaviors and spending habits, equating to digital gold within the advertising world. Once again the focus is not on a disturbing reality, but within the confines of a statistical analytics model portrayed on the gleaming softscreens within the catacombs of the cubicle techie hives of discontent and resounding detachment.
As Lyft has escalated the skid row raw street brawl of death with a vicious and savage left-hook uppercut to the soft tissue of the legitimate business world and society in successfully maneuvering their way onto the NASDAQ exchange, it is not a question of who will lose, but how many will lose before the dust settles and the fallout rains down.
The glaring mustache will never have anything on the great Charlie Chaplin.