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73

The Technology Pitch: How Uber Creates Entrepreneurship for the Masses

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Rosenblat, A. (2018). The Technology Pitch: How Uber Creates Entrepreneurship for the Masses. In Rosenblat, A. Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work. University of California Press, pp. 73-106

74

[...] Fernando is also upset about Uber shifting its eligiblity requirement for cars - in 2014, he spent $42,000 on an Uber-eqligible car (which meant a 2005 or newwer model); but in February 2015, Uber began allowing models dating to 2001. "You know how many people went tothe dealer and buy [sic] new cars?" [...] his voice drops when he describes his sons' disappointment in his situation: his familiy thoguht they were getting a pathway to the middle class, and now their father is working hard at a job that is failing him.

this is SO sad

also, think about implications of Uber changing policyand acting as if it's not a big deal, they shouldnthave to take responsiblity, etc. if it isnt a big deal then dont doit

—p.74 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago

[...] Fernando is also upset about Uber shifting its eligiblity requirement for cars - in 2014, he spent $42,000 on an Uber-eqligible car (which meant a 2005 or newwer model); but in February 2015, Uber began allowing models dating to 2001. "You know how many people went tothe dealer and buy [sic] new cars?" [...] his voice drops when he describes his sons' disappointment in his situation: his familiy thoguht they were getting a pathway to the middle class, and now their father is working hard at a job that is failing him.

this is SO sad

also, think about implications of Uber changing policyand acting as if it's not a big deal, they shouldnthave to take responsiblity, etc. if it isnt a big deal then dont doit

—p.74 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago
75

Drivers' experiences demonstrate the gap betwen rhetoric and reality when Uber talks about being a beacon of entrepeneurial oppportunity. The image of driver-as-entrepreneur fails forthree main reasons: drivesr have no control over the raetat whichthey work; they do not determine which jobs they take while logged in; and they are routinely punished for any attempt to "disrupt" the system that Uber imposes.

thinking about uber's objection to allowing drivers control which jobsthey take: that they would discriminate against certain jobs which would mean less reliable service for the customer. how to circumvent that? up the rates for the driver (equivalent to overtime/night bonus) without raising rate for customer? seems reasonable imo. some rides subsidise others

piece rates are dumb and bad for workers

—p.75 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago

Drivers' experiences demonstrate the gap betwen rhetoric and reality when Uber talks about being a beacon of entrepeneurial oppportunity. The image of driver-as-entrepreneur fails forthree main reasons: drivesr have no control over the raetat whichthey work; they do not determine which jobs they take while logged in; and they are routinely punished for any attempt to "disrupt" the system that Uber imposes.

thinking about uber's objection to allowing drivers control which jobsthey take: that they would discriminate against certain jobs which would mean less reliable service for the customer. how to circumvent that? up the rates for the driver (equivalent to overtime/night bonus) without raising rate for customer? seems reasonable imo. some rides subsidise others

piece rates are dumb and bad for workers

—p.75 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago
79

[...] By tracking incentive offers with pay premiums and working wih the other factors within his control, Frank tries to mximize the benefits of the job. The relationship between Uber and its drivers becomes inherently adversarial, though without particular animosity: Frank, like many drivers, is always trying to juice the promotions of his employer to get extra money. [...]

kind of like FF/CC points gaming, tbh

the big diff: about earning, not spending, and it's labour income so the stakes are higher

—p.79 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago

[...] By tracking incentive offers with pay premiums and working wih the other factors within his control, Frank tries to mximize the benefits of the job. The relationship between Uber and its drivers becomes inherently adversarial, though without particular animosity: Frank, like many drivers, is always trying to juice the promotions of his employer to get extra money. [...]

kind of like FF/CC points gaming, tbh

the big diff: about earning, not spending, and it's labour income so the stakes are higher

—p.79 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago
94

[...] One Utah driver posted the following in a forum in the summer of 2017:

This is the scam Uber is playing, calling us contractors when we're obviously not. If you're a painting contractor, do you accept ajobwithout knowing what it is or how much it pays? Of course not. But this is exactly what Uber is doing to us. Like tellingthe painting contractor you have a job for him but hehas to acceptitbeforeheknows what it is. Paint the whole house for 50 bucks and you the contractor have to supply the paint. You'd tell them to go pound sand, the paint alone costs more than 50 bucks. Then the painting contractor is told he already accepted the job and if he cancels he'll never work in this town again.

on my point in note 4195: we should shift the burden to the entity most capable of handling it (ie the company)

—p.94 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago

[...] One Utah driver posted the following in a forum in the summer of 2017:

This is the scam Uber is playing, calling us contractors when we're obviously not. If you're a painting contractor, do you accept ajobwithout knowing what it is or how much it pays? Of course not. But this is exactly what Uber is doing to us. Like tellingthe painting contractor you have a job for him but hehas to acceptitbeforeheknows what it is. Paint the whole house for 50 bucks and you the contractor have to supply the paint. You'd tell them to go pound sand, the paint alone costs more than 50 bucks. Then the painting contractor is told he already accepted the job and if he cancels he'll never work in this town again.

on my point in note 4195: we should shift the burden to the entity most capable of handling it (ie the company)

—p.94 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago
98

[...] The note went on to say "Please accept every request that Uber sends your way, and do not cancel tripsin the hope that your nextdispatch willbe a surge trip." In effect, Uber used the promise of surge pricing to shepherd adriver to a particular place at a particular time, and when the driver opted to decline a nonsurge fare in favor of waiting for a more profitable, surge-priced dispatch, he or she was sanctioned by the Uber manager for "surge manipulation". In UBerland, the data that drivers see on their individual screens is deployed to manipulate their behavior, but permitted manipulation is a one-way street.

email from Uber Support after a passenger gave feedback (supposedly) about surge manipulation

amazing how they can just say that without even the pretense of worrying about employment classification law. basically saying: do exactly as you're told, even if you make less money, otherwise you'll be in trouble

—p.98 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago

[...] The note went on to say "Please accept every request that Uber sends your way, and do not cancel tripsin the hope that your nextdispatch willbe a surge trip." In effect, Uber used the promise of surge pricing to shepherd adriver to a particular place at a particular time, and when the driver opted to decline a nonsurge fare in favor of waiting for a more profitable, surge-priced dispatch, he or she was sanctioned by the Uber manager for "surge manipulation". In UBerland, the data that drivers see on their individual screens is deployed to manipulate their behavior, but permitted manipulation is a one-way street.

email from Uber Support after a passenger gave feedback (supposedly) about surge manipulation

amazing how they can just say that without even the pretense of worrying about employment classification law. basically saying: do exactly as you're told, even if you make less money, otherwise you'll be in trouble

—p.98 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 3 days ago
104

[...] The company seems unconcerned that its practises severely limit drivers' ability to optimize their earnings. Algorithmic management is a system that works for hte company [...] drives suffer as they are forced to accept the odds that Uber has designed in its own favor.

this clear instance of driver contempt kinda belies uber's own story that they are doing it for the drivers (cus clearly they dont care if some drivers are being fucked over). what's their rebuttal? a paternalistic, doing it for their own good sort of thing (to optimise dispatch efficiency)?

—p.104 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 2 days ago

[...] The company seems unconcerned that its practises severely limit drivers' ability to optimize their earnings. Algorithmic management is a system that works for hte company [...] drives suffer as they are forced to accept the odds that Uber has designed in its own favor.

this clear instance of driver contempt kinda belies uber's own story that they are doing it for the drivers (cus clearly they dont care if some drivers are being fucked over). what's their rebuttal? a paternalistic, doing it for their own good sort of thing (to optimise dispatch efficiency)?

—p.104 by Alex Rosenblat 1 week, 2 days ago