You're cool until you make money

... then your an asshole and we hated you from the beginning. This story from Aaron Gordon about Lyft is typical New Yorker crap. Let’s break this down:

Naturally, it starts out with a mention of the taxi commission which is painted as being a fair and just organization. Which is it isn’t and also ignores the fact that taxis worked in 1 city in the entire US: NYC. Everywhere else, they were crap and borderline dangerous. Which is why Lyft and Uber exist.

In public, it’s tried to be a friendlier, nicer Uber, one that cares about improving the environment, reducing traffic, and helping build livable cities. But it has not helped any of these goals. It has actively made some of them worse. And now, it’s execs, investors and others are extremely rich.


Of course, we like nothing more than hating rich people. After all, all those times this year we haven’t had to wait for a cab that didn’t show up, powered by an app that actually works, and taking a ride with people who are often genuinely nice makes the world... a worse place somehow? Cmon. Let’s be real. This is the same kind of misplaced anger hipsters have when their favorite vegan solar-powered grocery story opens up a 3rd location - making it a sell out.

First of all, if that’s Lyft’s goal, then it is failing. Car ownership is actually rising in the cities where Uber and Lyft are most heavily used, exceeding population growth in most of them. Certainly, these are partly due to trends outside of the company’s control like low gas prices. But Lyft has also been helping prospective drivers get access to cars for years.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Broken logic where somehow, helping Lyft drivers get access to cars so that some people won’t own cars means that Lyft increases the sale of cars. Let’s just ignore the fact that the number of cars sold in the US decreased at a continuous rate since 2000. Even if ridesharing was never going to fix congestion, you could make a serious case that it takes people out of less efficient cars and puts them into cars that the drivers have bought for the sole purpose of being more efficient.


If anything, ridesharing is an indictment of how bad the US public transit system is. If it is indeed superseding public transit, then public transit has failed.

I parked my car at a BART station last week when I went on a trip (interesting factoid: BART has an airport parking program). When I arrived at SFO, exhausted, my BART train was delayed 40 minutes for “police activity”. When the train arrived, the car I walked into was full of vomit and urine. And I don’t mean “it smelled”, I mean... there was vomit and urine with foot tracks through it. Fuck. That.

Despite never making money and failing to accomplish any of the corporate goals they have outlined, they are now billionaires. They bluffed and bullshitted their way to $87.24 a share and a roughly $30 billion valuation.

And they’ll be back in New York court soon arguing why they can’t pay their drivers a minimum wage.


They accomplished nearly everything they set out to do. “Social entrepreneurship is the use of start-up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.” They successful developed, funded, and implemented a solution people’s sucky experiences in cabs and on public transit. Hell - if you view shifting commutes to more efficient cars and making life a little better for a shitload of people as a social good - then you might as well applaud their success.

By Aaron Gordon won’t. And that’s because he’s got a bug up his bum and can’t fathom the idea of the free marketing being right on this one. The only time him and I will ultimately agree on this is when that same free market dumps these companies into the toilet of time - which almost certainly happen. Success is always fleeting.

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