The Thing I Love Most About Uber - Above the Crowd: Justifying Optimism


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 10, 2023

4 min read


The Thing I Love Most About Uber - Above the Crowd: Justifying Optimism

Uber has revolutionized the way we think about work. With its network and the invisible hand of Mr. Smith, it has elegantly matched supply and demand, all while offering workers the freedom and flexibility that is unheard of in most industries. This feature, worker autonomy of both time and place, is a game-changer that simply does not exist anywhere else. According to a survey, 85% of Uber drivers partner with the company to have more flexibility in their schedule and balance their work with their life and family. This is a luxury that is not afforded to many in traditional jobs.

What makes Uber even more unique is the fact that a majority of drivers, 55% to be exact, work less than 15 hours a week. This highlights that the majority of drivers are using the service for supplemental income. Friday and Saturday nights are the consistent weekly peaks of demand on the Uber system, and they also align with the spare time available to people with standard full-time jobs who want to earn some extra money. It serves as a bridge for those who are looking for a full-time job, allowing them to earn money while they search for a steady, long-term position.

But Uber's impact goes beyond just providing a temporary income source. It has the potential to aid people in need of learning new skills. The flexibility and autonomy that comes with being an Uber driver can provide a supplemental income opportunity for those who are retraining. This allows them to support themselves financially while they acquire new skills and transition into a different career. Independent work, like that offered by Uber, has the potential to cushion unemployment, improve labor force participation, stimulate demand, and raise productivity. It benefits both workers and consumers by providing greater availability of services and improved matching that fulfills their needs.

One key aspect to note is that most of these scenarios are temporary. The goal for many driver-partners is not to make this their lifelong career, but rather to use it as a stepping stone or a means to an end. Independent work is different from traditional job types, and that is precisely why it is so valuable. Uber empowers workers by giving them control over their own lives. Instead of making their lives fit the needs of a job, they can make the job fit the needs of their lives. This shift in power dynamics is revolutionary and has yet to be fully understood and appreciated.

Justifying Optimism:

Optimism is often seen as a way of prophesying success, but physicist David Deutsch argues that it is actually a way of explaining failure. The reason things tend to get better is that we learn from the mistakes, blunders, and disasters that we encounter along the way. Evolution itself works on this principle, teaching us by destroying what doesn't work. It is through these setbacks that we are forced to innovate and find better solutions.

Nassim Taleb takes this idea further and argues that the excess energy released from overreacting to setbacks is what actually drives innovation. It is in times of stress and difficulty that we are pushed into gear and forced to come up with creative solutions. The biggest advancements and innovations happen when we are faced with challenges that seem insurmountable. These obstacles push us to think outside the box and find new ways of doing things.

Charlie Munger adds another perspective to this discussion by stating that the world is not driven by greed, but by envy. When we see someone accomplish something remarkable, it inspires us to believe that we can do the same, and even better. This drive to surpass others and raise the bar fuels innovation and progress. Each generation builds upon the achievements of the previous one, constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

In conclusion, Uber's unique model of worker autonomy and flexibility has transformed the way we think about work. It provides a temporary income source for those in need and serves as a bridge for those looking for full-time employment. Furthermore, it has the potential to support individuals in need of retraining by offering a flexible and autonomous supplemental income opportunity. On the other hand, justifying optimism shows us that setbacks and challenges are not hindrances but catalysts for innovation and progress. By learning from our failures and overreacting to setbacks, we can drive ourselves to find better solutions and push the boundaries of what is possible.

Actionable advice:

  • 1. Embrace flexibility: Seek opportunities that allow you to have more control over your time and schedule. Look for industries or platforms that offer autonomy and the ability to balance work with other aspects of your life.
  • 2. Embrace setbacks: Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, see them as opportunities for growth and innovation. Use these challenges as fuel to push yourself further and find creative solutions to problems.
  • 3. Embrace competition: Surround yourself with individuals who inspire you and push you to be better. Use their achievements as motivation to surpass them and raise the bar for yourself.

By incorporating these principles into our lives, we can unlock our full potential and create a future that is filled with innovation, progress, and personal fulfillment.

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