What does it mean to be an innovator? Our editors debated many companies–and throughout this list, we’re running some of their discussions. This is how we decided on Uber.
YEA: Uber’s killing it, bro: $200 million–plus in revenue, and now in 26 countries and almost 70 cities.
NAY: Great. Where’d the money come from–skimming off its drivers’ tips (for which there’s a lawsuit)?
YEA: Oh, c’mon. Uber loves its drivers: It’s helping them lease cars at a great rate.
NAY: Only because it’s willing to do anything to stop Lyft, which is much friendlier (pink mustaches!) and hot on its heels.
YEA: Stop hating. CEO Travis Kalanick needs that supply of cars on the road. He’s building out a network that can deliver anything instantly.
NAY: So I see–like its hyped ice-cream delivery each summer, where almost no one got ice cream? These stunts of Uber’s never evolve the business.
YEA: But, but… delivering shelter kittens! Christmas trees! This is what makes customers fall in love.
NAY: No, love comes from treating customers right. Uber holds them in contempt. How else to explain hiking prices eight times during a minor snowfall (and also in L.A. on a perfect night) and then mocking those who cried foul?
YEA: Disruptive innovation ain’t pretty.
NAY: And Uber makes it less pretty by the day!
Growth does not equal innovation. Uber’s relentless brand of hypergrowth is causing its service experience to suffer, leading to poor decisions on how it treats its drivers, local regulators, and, most important, its customers.