Madness in the Method?


Uber has ordered 24K self driving Volvo SUVs.

Forget that self-driving without a human monitor is not legal in most jurisdictions.  Assume Uber can rapidly obtain local approval for self driving vehicles. Assume it can cut its labor cost and sidestep its pending fight over whether its drivers are contract or employee.  Assume that by developing its own software controls for these Volvos it can customize successfully to locale and traffic patterns.

What I see is this:  Uber is banking its future on an asset base that will be pretty much worthless in 3-5 years.

I see that as a billion dollars blown every three years.  I see that as Uber having to build and staff and manage its own expert maintenance yards because it is using proprietary software, or having to contract that out at a premium.

It might be a workable model, but it is a HUGE gamble.  Yes or No?





25 Responses

  1. New tech post.


    • can you flesh that out a bit. i’m not following (maybe i’m slow today) why you think will be worthless in a few years? the software?


      • It is the nature of all cars that they depreciate rapidly. A car with high mileage on short trips simply becomes a POS as a used vehicle. If Uber does what the rental agencies do it will turn them at 50% in one year.


        • oh that makes sense. thanks


        • Sure but that’s built into the model somewhat already, but the costs are simply being borne by the drivers themselves.

          I think they still come out ahead not having to pay the drivers, especially if they end up having to treat them as actual employees.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I think this is happening. Whether Uber makes it work now is another question.


  3. I’m in!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is all about the first mover advantage…


  5. If Franken is basing what to do on Kos diaries, he ain’t going anywhere.

    My guess is no Democrats resign unless there’s video tape of an actual rape and or murder.

    I also predict Joe Barton retires


  6. And of course this is applauded:

    “The Departing Consumer-Finance Director Moves to Thwart Trump

    By appointing a new deputy director before resigning, Richard Cordray is signaling that the Bureau has no intention of letting the president name his own acting director.

    Gillian B. White”


  7. There’s just so much quotable stuff in this “article.”

    Among those fired or sidelined were most of the top African-American and Latino diplomats, as well as many women, difficult losses in a department that has long struggled with diversity.

    Three sentences later…

    “I don’t feel targeted as an African-American,” she said. “I feel targeted as a professional.”

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    like Mr. Miller, they find no demand for their expertise


    “Leadership matters,” said Nancy McEldowney, a former ambassador who retired in June after a 30-year career as a Foreign Service officer. “There’s a vacuum throughout the State Department, and the junior people now working in these top jobs lack the confidence and credibility that comes from a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation.”

    Why would this drive people out?

    Even more departures are expected as a result of an intense campaign that Mr. Tillerson has ordered to reduce the department’s longtime backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests. CNN reported that the task had resulted from Mr. Trump’s desire to accelerate the release of Mrs. Clinton’s remaining emails.

    Eye roll.

    “The United States is at the center of every crisis around the world, and you simply cannot be effective if you don’t have assistant secretaries and ambassadors in place,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat who was an under secretary of state for President George W. Bush. “It shows a disdain for diplomacy.”


  8. This reminds me of one of my favorite jokes,

    My wife and I are both feminists, but as a male I’m just slightly better at it than she is.

    Liked by 1 person

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