uber eats

Yesterday I ordered my first Uber Eats. A vege fried rice got delivered in 35 minutes. Very impressive service. What uber and pickme have done to taxis, was not a thing until it was introduced. Now it is the new normal. Uber Eats and Pickme food will change food industry with in 2 years, that we will not be able to think of a colombo with out 30 minute food delivery.

Right now, both are serving a very small area in Colombo. Testing times for both. Burning money for both, I guess. Because Uber eats did not charge me for delivery. Idea is to get more people try the service. These services need thousands of users to make it viable. Scale is the game.

While we customers enjoy the convenience, most of us have no idea what a rough sea this delivery business is. Pizza hut do 30 minute delivery with their own cadre of delivery army. They do pizza hut delivery only. They are fondly called ‘suicide squad’ by taxi drivers, obviously because of the way they drive to deliver with in 30 minutes.

In Uber Eats and Pickme Food, non-employee freelance riders are connecting multiple restaurants to hungry customers. It’s a rougher sea. Tech and People are needed to be in perfect symphony. Customers are getting grumpy and impatient by every passing minute. Welcome to the world of convenience driven by Gig economy.

But this convenience comes at a price. Some issues are now coming in to surface. Majority of Uber and PickMe taxi drivers I drive with are not happy. They do not get many rides as they used to, because there are many vehicles in both services.  Price per Km is fixed, even though fuel prices are in the rise ( inflation) .

It’s way too early to tell what will stick and what will not. Is Gig economy the new evil? It is easier to condemn new things as a fad. But Gig economy is here to stay. Can we make it work for betterment of every stakeholder by balancing the benefits?

A brave new wild world is waiting to happen. What do you think?

I was waiting for my ride on Uber when I saw on app that the driver had a 3.5 rating.

Only 3.5 ?

A sudden irritation crept inside me. What could this 3.5 number mean?

Is he a reckless driver? Is he bad with using maps? is he mean? may be his car is in bad shape?

These thoughts circled my mind for the 5 minutes he took to arrive.

Reflecting on my mind state, I questioned my self “what if I had not seen the rating?”

I decided to act like I hadn’t seen his rating. I got in.

I was welcomed to a wide smile of a young man in his mid twenties.

To my surprise he drove exceptionally well. No crazy changing of lanes, no abrupt brakes, and he was very courteous.

He had been driving for 6 days on Uber. There can be many reasons for his 3.5 rating.

I judged him on his rating alone.

We already have enough criteria to be judgmental: monthly income, size of home, car, brand of clothes, number of degrees/MBA’s.

Now, with social media and apps: how many likes you get to your selfie? how many friends, followers, Shares ?

Ratings throw beauty of randomness out of human equation.

We judge people like they are things, not as humans who are capable of random acts of goodness.

These random, ad hoc characteristics of humans are been standardised to make humans palpable for big data. Then humans can be classified to include them in to target groups. Very interesting times.