“In his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also sprach Zarathustra), Nietzsche has his character Zarathustra posed the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself.” That is Wikipedia’s definition of Uberman, the person who abandons conventional social standards and creates new values. And how you say this applies to Uber drivers? Follow me.
Threats to the Status Quo
When the Dynamex lawsuit started to make noise, Uber had to do something to appease their their driver partners.
The Superior court of California deemed delivery drivers for the Dynamex Corp., as employees and not independent contractors. This reclassification of independent contractors as employees includes pensions, medical coverage, unemployment benefits, and quarterly social security benefit payments. Also, it covers federal taxes and severance payments. All these are applicable retroactively!
If I were the CFO, CEO, or anyone of any importance at Uber, I would be sweating from anxiety just hearing the news. With expedience of a light beam, Uber shot out an in app notification to California drivers to sign and acknowledge that they will not join a class action lawsuit. If they did not agree to this, they would not be able to sign into the app. Temporary band aid but it worked.
Dissatisfied Uber Drivers
While Uber drivers aren’t involved in the legal case against Dynamex Corp., many could relate to the case. Uber drivers are struggling with issues of lower rates, disappearing incentives, crappy fringe benefits, higher gas prices, and cost of maintenance etc.
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Uber is aware of what their drivers are going through today. However, they also understood those issues before they even applied for a license in rideshare. Furthermore, they had a legal team search through definitions and loopholes to ensure they have everything covered complaints arise.
Truthfully, I would have done the same if I were to form a corporation and have thousands of people working. The nature of the worker is to almost always be dissatisfied. Even with a threat like the Dynamex ruling, Uber quickly fixed it so they do not suffer financial losses. Do you think we hit a brick wall?
The Rise of the Uberman
Enter, Uberman, the restructurer, the modifier. We, Uber drivers, seem to accept the receiving end of what others (see Uber) mustered up for us. We are reactionary; and that position is always the disadvantage.
When we react, we battle what others have thrown at us without having had the time to think, structure, evaluate. Most reactions are emotional. But, what if we had a plan — an unemotional deal that we present to them? I am not suggesting unionizing (against our contract) or protests, or lawsuits. However, an exception to this plan may be the long and winding road of advocacy for law reform and new policy. Unfortunately, although these efforts are noble and doable, they far into the future.
The plan is money. Money for us! Money for Uber too! Isn’t this the bottom line anyway, the reason we work, the reason they work?
Since its inception, Uber has not reported a profit. Whatever their reasons our is beyond the point. But, we all know they are operating globally in many different service areas. Additionally, they have ventured into diverse environments and went public.
The way to money with Uber is to let them understand we are valuable in a manner that they cannot easily let us go. If we made them more money which will elevate them closer to a better balance sheet, they will value us. We have to help them so they will help us. Value is irrefutable. We can teach them how to love us.
The Middle Ground
The Uberman, is a reformer. He isn’t corporate America, slightly greedy, stepping over dead bodies, a manipulator, and the office political magician. The Uberman finds the middle space between corporate profits and individual earnings without rocking the boat to the point of capsizing. He that takes the pulse of circumstance and creates the “win-win” situation with the least amount of friction.
This state of mind calls for solutions after evaluating the problems from all angles. It also requires the solution-thinkers to not only consider oneself but the community as well. The Uberman is a leader, a fair, square thinker.
What if we treat our Uber as our business and find solutions to our problems instead of merely complaining? How would Uber react if they have industrious drivers who are helpers and innovators rather than the opposition? What if Uber speaks to representatives of communities of drivers throughout the country (and the world) to gather input, ideas, suggestions and consensus among us? Do you like the Uberman? Can you be Uberman?
Finding Solutions Together
A few examples of this innovation and new way of dealing with adversity, is to see the challenges and the condition of the market place. Recently, FedEx declared an expiration of their contract with Amazon for delivery services. Amazon has negotiating power over other companies and can dictate pricing and terms. FedEx, although a giant, now scrabbles to gain customers by offering ground delivery service fees for their two-day air.
Uber Drivers to Partner with Amazon
If we took consensus opinion of LA, Chicago, and New York and discover that Uber drivers are willing to deliver packages for a certain fee by traveling minimal distance , then wouldn’t be in Uber’s interest to negotiate a contract with Amazon?
The logistics are easy. An Amazon driver meets you, gives you 10 parcels you must deliver in less than a mile radius. You take a break from riders, get a little exercise, and make money in the process. By reducing the workload of an Amazon delivery driver, an Uber driver can be more productive and Ubers makes a percentage. As a result, Amazon saves money and maintains their service level.
Since we came up with this idea and our representative brings data to the table, Uber can relate this to Amazon. We all have a role in this— labor, birth of ideas, data, suggestions, pricing, percentages and technical programming.
Uber Drivers to Sell During a Ride
Private sales and suggestions of websites to visit so riders purchase products is another way to increase our income. In Illinois, a new law allows sales during a rideshare ride. However, other states may or may not allow sales.
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We could sell CBD oil, phone gadgets, charge cords, even bottled water. If funding for your inventory is difficult, our community needs to think of crowdfunding, common funds, or small amounts of lending to help each other reach their sale goals. We can overcome financial difficulties or mistrust in many ways to strengthen our community.
Uber Drivers to Offer Exclusive Vouchers to Riders
Another idea is the sale of a voucher exclusive, gift cards for rides and incentives for riders to ride more.
People still need the human interaction when they buy something. Although they can purchase bulk rides and vouchers from Uber’s website, the driver can influence that sale easily and deserves a percentage. Customer loyalty and continuous sales translates to corporate confidence and stable, steady income.
Uber Drivers to Provide Paid Advertisements and Referrals
In the old days, many people who ride taxis often ask about the best local food, bar, entertainment. What if we partner with Uber to do just that? Get paid to advertise.
Word of mouth is far the best way to convince someone to buy something. What’s the best deep dish pizza in Chicago? Where do I eat crawfish in New Orleans? What’s the best bar in LA? Where is the best fish & chips in London? If we help a business make money, then we should also make money from it. We can be walking billboards. Uber has to program a way to track our leads and we can both be compensated.
Cryptocurrency is the new currency. Uber is a data company like Facebook. They could start their own crypto program.
Cryptomining is based on 1’s and 0’s that generate something called block chain. Many block chains make a coin. How many block chains do you think you could create simply by giving rides, receiving data on your phone, or swiping your credit card at the gas station? This is data you have generated.
If Uber’s data is available for cryptomining, real or cloud-stored, do you think that a community representative could negotiate a tiny little bit percentage for you? In the future, their crypto could be worth a bundle, like Bitcoin.
You would not argue against money you earn out of nowhere and while you slept. Uber would only offer that if they knew you helped their process, you were part of it, you thought and worked and sold. This give and take requires work, will, steady thinking, as well as, well good representation and clear terms.
We may argue that Uber, so far, has not demonstrated the best in clarity, moral stance, or policy and driver support. However, I believe that this is part of the process in growth. Let’s admit that success is building upon failures. Trial and error is what we are made of. If we can get past this notion, we can progress to the next step of knowing and understanding our needs and Uber’s needs.
After considering both sides of the equation, by incorporation of diversity in long- and short- term gains and present market conditions, I came up with these suggestions. Community build-ups and win-win conditions are a gentle tug-of-war.
I would love these to become a reality, would love to see all of us working towards the greater good. I don’t care if you are young, older, an academic, or a street smart person. it doesn’t matter what your gender, race or financial status is. Whether you are an American or a citizen of the world, our needs do not vary. We need to unite and be helpful.
How would like to be an Uberman?