Uber is much in the news recently, for mostly the wrong reasons. One of its senior executives threatened to investigate journalists who wrote negative things about the taxi service platform. An Uber passenger was allegedly attacked by a driver. And an Uber-affiliated driver ran over a pedestrian in San Francisco. And the company’s CEO has been accused of fostering a frat boy culture.
Without downplaying the seriousness of these events, I believe the fundamental issues posed by Uber have less to do with the company’s specifics and more to do with a business model that works by offloading responsibilities, something that many other platform companies—businesses that make money by making connections rather than providing a real product or service—do as well. I am not sure people fully appreciate the many problems inherent in this type of business.