Pluralistic: No, Uber's (still) not profitable (09 August 2023)

Today’s links No, Uber’s (still) not profitable: A relentless, world-leading innovator in ever-sweatier balance sheet tricks, accounting gimmicks and hopium. Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: 2013, 2018 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading No, Uber’s (still) not profitable (permalink) Bezzle (n): “the magic interval when a confidence trickster knows he has the money he has appropriated but the victim does not yet understand that he has lost it” (JK Gabraith) Uber Uber was, is, and always will be a bezzle. There are just intrinsic limitations to the profits available to operating a taxi fleet, even if you can misclassify your employees as contractors and steal their wages, even as you force them to bear the cost of buying and maintaining your taxis. The magic of early Uber – when taxi rides were incredibly cheap, and there were always cars available, and drivers made generous livings behind the wheel – wasn’t magic at all. It was just predatory pricing. Uber lost $0.41 on every dollar they brought in, lighting $33b of its investors’ cash on fire. Most of that money came from the Saudi royals, funneled through Softbank, who brought you such bezzles as WeWork – a boring real-estate company masquerading as a high-growth tech company, just as Uber was a boring taxi company masquerading as a tech company. Predatory pricing used to be illegal, but Chicago School economists convinced judges to stop enforcing the law on the grounds that predatory…Pluralistic: No, Uber's (still) not profitable (09 August 2023)

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