Uber and Change
Delivering meals, ice cream and other business deliveries have been added by Uber, which started by transporting passengers in two vehicles in San Francisco.
The business now has around 5000 full time staffers - in addition to the drivers who have increasingly asked to be categorised as employees instead of being contractors.
Currently corporate culture does not encourage the payment of tips. Its next interests are in the development of driverless cars and in introducing car pooling services.Investing in driverless vehicles do seem the anti-thesis of its very first successful business niche. However this does underline the modus operandi of new fangled businesses of the near future - innovate, deconstruct, let go and embrace the new.
Guangzhou has so far been the top city in number of passenger hire trips for Uber. Worldwide, Uber is operating in more than 360 cities in 66 countries - and has around three quarters of all counties covered in the USA. Uber provided three million rides daily by last year and there are already more than a million active Uber drivers.
The journey for Uber has met challenges and opposition at various levels. However its growth echoes the basic premise that individuals can choose to make money in their spare time with what they already own - their private car.
Uber is typical of the recent disruptive and transformative businesses that are successful despite not owning the physical things used to bring in the money - by just offering a connective platform between customers and those who actually deliver the service or product.
Uber founder Travis Kalanick also believes in the value of providing independence, dignity and control of personal time to drivers under his business model. His drivers become self entrepreneurs in a way - and perhaps also drive down the costs of hire car trips.
Critics are not so sure about the position Uber drivers find themselves in - and suggest feudal like conditions such drivers face, the absence of pension and other benefits, plus asserting that Uber has more advantages in such a relationship.
Continued disruption by such digital age business models will intensify and is part of changes in how future businesses engage with customers in the pursuit of profits.