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Monthly Archives: July 2013
A Lesson in Innovation For the Taxi Industry from Uber
Have you ever been short of the taxi fare and don’t have cash or credit on your card? Ever had teenagers coming home after midnight and had to get out of bed to pay the fare? Ever had a cab driver saying you can’t split the fare on multiple credit cards.
Let’s face it, the taxi industry hasn’t got the greatest rep and when it comes to paying, it can be a pain sometimes for the average person. Ever been out on the town and want to split the fare? If it’s cash its not a problem, but if its EFTPOS or Credit Cards, its likely that the taxi driver doesn’t want to know. It takes time and may involve extra fees and also paperwork for reconciling fares and tips at the end of the day’s work.
What about the stories of people who call cabs but don’t have any money. Perhaps they want to stop at an ATM or gas station on the way, which is likely to ring alarm bells for the driver. What about the situation where they say their parents, or someone at home will pay when they get there, also a bit of a worry. You can see why the industry has problems and understand the situation from both sides.
Uber seems to have a lot of the answers which is possibly why a lot of other taxi companies don’t like them and some smarter ones are trying to emulate them.
As you can see on the image, you don’t even have to know where you are in order to hail a cab, just set the location on a map using the mobile’s GPS and they can not only confirm where you are, but they can also easily identify the nearest cab, not the one who is most keen to get the job.
In the latest upgrade, as explained in PC Mag, you can now split the fare with anyone else who has the Uber app and they will take care of the messy work of calculating how much that share is.
What I think is really cool about this is that the people sharing the fee can be anywhere. It could be friends, family or your boss. They don’t even have to be in the same town, your parents could be out of state on holiday and still pay for your fare.
What this reinforces to me is that businesses need to listen to their customers. They need to understand what it is to be a customer, that’s why shows like Undercover Boss are so good. Every manager in a business should be an incognito customer from time to time.
There are established companies who innovate, but it is much easier for companies to just do what they usually do, BAU and therein lies the trap for old players and the opportunities for old and new.
Even better, get someone from outside to look at your business, who has no legacy. Get them to look at it from the perspective of the key people in the business and their clients. But most of all, ask the tough questions of your customers and listen to the answers. They might just help you stay profitable.
If Uber was in my city, I’d use them. These are smart entrepreneurs who are disrupting a well established business model with ease.
Forget David Shearer’s Man Ban but What About Teenagers?
David Shearer’s concept of having electorates where only women can be put forward as candidates has been dropped. The man ban is gone. Personally I think the concept was not only wrong because it fails to look at candidates to represent us solely on merit. Secondly, Labour is already 40% represented by women MP’s. Therefore in my opinion, women are not being discriminated against in the political arena at all. If they considered the best for the job gender doesn’t come into it.
What we don’t have in my opinion is sufficient youth representation. When I was at college I was a member of the Secondary School Students Association and got to meet with senior leaders in education including the late Paulo Freire, leaders of world churches and many others. They sought our thoughts on the future, stating that we were going to be the leaders of the next generations, just as politicians say today.
Yet, other than once every 3 years, when there is a youth parliament, which is coincidentally next week, there is very little consideration to what youth think about the issues. Sure, MP’s visit schools and do handshake photo opportunities with children and listen to their concerts etc, but kids actually come up with some great ideas, not convoluted by the complexities that adults have.
So if we want the children to help create their own future and if some of them want to be involved in politics, (I appreciate there are organisations like the Young Nats), if we really care about proportional representation, why not have some list seats (not electorate seats) and invite a few promising teenagers into parliament. They could be studying political sciences or have other skills or interests. Have them plug into their demographic and represent their interests in parliament.
What do you think?