The first thing I thought of when I started digging into Uber:
"From all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins – or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer."
-Page ix of Rules for Radicals.
That emulating the methods of Satan using any means fair or foul, including lying, cheating and stealing is the way to get riches and power.
And that was the moment when I stopped thinking of Uber as frat boys making stupid boob jokes and started thinking of them as nasty little political operatives.
If you're into this kind of stuff Rule 12 appears to be the approach Uber management favors:
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)I should note we are fans of Alinsky's tactical brilliance, oftentimes struggling to resist employing rule #5:
#5 Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage....Jay Yarrow at Business Insider pointed out the real problem yesterday:
...However, in Smith's story, there was something that was more than just theoretical, and it's a good reminder of the scary power Uber has over its users.Here's more from Buzzfeed:
Here's what Smith reported: "The general manager of Uber NYC accessed the profile of a BuzzFeed News reporter, Johana Bhuiyan, to make points in the course of a discussion of Uber policies. At no point in the email exchanges did she give him permission to do so."
If that's not clear, Smith is saying that Uber accessed the profile of a journalist to see where that journalist had traveled while using Uber. Uber did this without permission. For the thousands of people who use Uber, this should be the most alarming thing in Smith's report.
Uber knows where its users are going and when they are going there. That is powerful, potentially damaging data to control.
An Uber spokesperson told Smith this was against Uber's policies: "Any such activity would be clear violations of our privacy and data access policies. Access to and use of data is permitted only for legitimate business purposes. These policies apply to all employees. We regularly monitor and audit that access."
“God View:” Uber Investigates Its Top New York Executive For Privacy Violations
In the wake of a BuzzFeed News story, the transit company is looking into the official’s tracking of a journalist’s location.
Tracking customers is easy using an internal company tool called “God View,” two former Uber employees told BuzzFeed News. They said God View, which shows the location of Uber vehicles and customers who have requested a car, was widely available to corporate employees. Drivers, who operate as contractors, do not have access to God View.
Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber’s New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle — an Uber car — she found Mohrer waiting for her. “There you are,” he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. “I was tracking you.”
Mohrer never asked for permission to track her....MORE
Can We Trust Uber?
Here's his Oct. 2 followup:
The Immaturity and Arrogance of Uber
Update: Senator Franken's Letter to Uber