With all the negative stories about discrimination, regulatory bypassing, and general cultural toxicity spewing out of Uber‘s headquarters like a broken damn, Lyft was in the position to benefit from riders and drivers who expect better from their businesses—and it was doing a pretty good job. That is, until Lyft’s president, John Zimmer, described his company as “woke” to Time magazine. There was also this choice phrasing, which strikes me as both gross and confusing:
“We’re not the nice guys,” Zimmer says. “We’re a better boyfriend.”
First, a “better boyfriend” doesn’t make you a good boyfriend. And don’t you want your partner to also be nice? Finally, why are you gendering your company?
While Lyft has a reputation for being the more human of the two services, calling itself “woke” is a stretch. It is not woke to keep your company’s diversity stats hidden (apparently these are forthcoming). It is also not woke to pledge $1 million to the ACLU just after your main competitor is publicly accused of strikebreaking—it’s opportunistic. Let’s not forget that Lyft has also been called out for the way it classifies drivers and has every intention of replacing them with robots in the next nine years.
[Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Lyft]