Here’s a speed summary of the cover story of the June 2015 edition of Wired Magazine offering 40 lessons from big industry leaders – including Richard Branson, Clayton Christensen, and Rachel Botsman – on what businesses can learn from the poster child of digital disruption – Uber: “Love it? Hate it? Uber – 41 Lessons from a $40bn Phenomenon“.
The article actually contains just 12 big lessons, broken down into sub points. Worth reading in entirety (love the acronym of WEIRD markets – and the challenges of expanding beyond them – Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic), but for the time-pressed here’s the summary of what the Good and the Great have to say on what we need to learn from Uber, the biggest Unicorn on the planet – valued at over $40bn.
- Disruptive innovation is still a killer business model (technology is rarely disruptive, business models are – such as the marketplace model of Uber) – Clayton Christensen, Harvard
- Do one thing really well – then figure out what the second leap is – Josh Elman, Greylock
- Free agents are the future (If you want loyalty, get a dog – Uber drivers are free agents, monetising their car with multiple apps) [You can buy people’s attention ($500 bonus to Lyft drivers switching to Uber), If you start with a price – stay with price, When rates drop, will drivers follow? Be flexible, and follow demand, Diversify and keep your options open] – Harry Campbell, The Rideshare Guy
- Expand quickly, efficiently and effectively [Put users first, Hire an operations wizard, Partner up, Don’t push your suppliers too far, Adapt your products, Defend your margins, A good product sells itself, Control pricing, Expand fast, Keep it simple] – George Berkowski, former product head, Hailo
- Make a habit out of your product – Nir Eyal, author
- If individuals are willing to leverage their assets, the whole world can benefit (asset 1: Home (AirBnB, asset 2: car (Uber), asset 3: bank balance (Funding Circle) [hat tip to Julian Grainger] [Accountability is king, Private data can offer social good, The sharing economy is good for cities] – Carlo Ratti, MIT
- Successful products spring from a passion to improve people’s lives – Richard Branson, entrepreneur
- Disruption gets results, but you also need to be liked – Uber could learn from Microsoft – to be respected and feared is not enough… You need to be liked – Russell Davies, Government Digital Service
- Supply and demand doesn’t justify everything – If Apple couldn’t get away with surge pricing for iPhones in 2007 ($599 for first two-month orders), can Uber? – Tim Harford, FT
- Keep your app design simple, consistent and user-friendly [Keep it consistent, Be distinct, Style it out] Harry Pearce, Pentagram
- Sometimes it pays to play safe (make safety a priority, to fight the disruptive fight from the moral high ground) John Fingleton, regulation consultant
- Collaborate, disrupt, but also promote trust (Uber will need to build trust with drivers, passengers and new users of its ‘mobility infrastructure’) – [It’s the data stupid, Fix what’s broken, Keep the liquid flowing, Loyalty is power, Protect your people] Rachel Botsman, thought leader