Corporate Gang War: Uber v. Lyft
In a recent post, "The End of Taxis," I extolled Uber—the elegant chauffeured automobile service you can call from a smartphone. In two-to-10 minutes, you will be picked up by a well-dressed driver in a spotless, roomy town car. He will deliver you to your destination and no money changes hands.
The cost for this s-m-o-o-t-h service is roughly the same as a taxi. And you experience none of the grief (e.g., grungy car, no leg room and an unkempt driver yakking on a cellphone the whole way).
In 2009, Uber started up in San Francisco and is currently operating in 128 cities and 37 countries. Uber's current worth is reported to be $18 billion.
Three years later, the upstart Lyft launched—also in San Francisco—and is doing business in 65 U.S. cities in 30 states.
If you are fascinated by the strategy and tactics of war—between nations, religions or corporations—check out Casey Newton's dazzling exposé, "This is Uber's Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft."
Newton reveals chapter and verse of the diabolical dirty tricks devised by Uber to run Lyft off the roads and over a cliff. Nixon's Watergate perps would love it! Included:
- How "brand ambassadors" are hired.
- The high-tech equipment they carry.
- Coded argot of Uber's corporate jihad: brand ambassadors, Operation SLOG, hashtag #shavethestache, virtuous circle, slanging, street teams, contractors, messaging app GroupMe.
- Reproduced are instruction sheets to the brand ambassadors, online forms and a splendid internal memo that starts:
Hello my lovely Sloggers!
We are implementing a new way for us to get CCs. Thanks to Target CW we are going to be able to get each of you your own CC info! I know you can hardly stand the excitement, I know I can't either-no more waiting. EPIC! ...
This is great investigative journalism!