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Uber Is Exponential Entrepreneurship in Practice

Author and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis explains how Uber’s business plan seeks to change the way the public perceives car ownership.

Peter Diamandis, co-author of the new book Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, is featured today in a Big Think interview about exponential entrepreneurship and, in particular, how companies like Uber embody the values and deploy the tactics of a robust 21st century business. No idea what it means to be an exponential entrepreneur? Diamandis’ co-author Steven Kotler summed up the business philosophy a few weeks ago in his own Big Think interview. Check out the video in that link for an introduction. For now, we’ll focus on Diamandis and Uber:

Uber is an example of an exponential company because it takes advantage of what Diamandis calls “extraordinary technologies … that were only available to the largest companies and governments just 20 years ago.” These technologies make it possible to reach billions of people and harness their human capital to tackle the world’s big problems. Crowdfunding is a good example that is expected to net $15 billion in 2015 and as much as $100 billion per year by next decade.

Uber’s long-term business plan is to dematerialize and demonetize the automobile. It’s effectively built a network through its smartphone apps that has turned cars into things you request through your smartphone rather than expensive machines that spend most of the time lingering in your garage:

“And all of a sudden you don’t need cars. Cars are something that’s a digital asset you can call on demand and you can use whatever kind of car you want. And of course this demonetizes a car. You don’t put up $30,000 or $40,000 for a car up front, which, by the way, is idle 96 percent of the time. You use a car by the drink when you need it. Very much like cloud computing. You don’t buy a whole room of servers. You use Amazon web services when you need it on a per, you know, process basis.”

This then leads to a democratization of automobiles that revolutionizes how we feel about car ownership. Currently Uber runs like a pseudo-taxi driven by humans. In the future, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick aims for an autonomous fleet of self-driving cars that can whisk riders anywhere. Those who can’t afford to own an automobile will still have access to the sort of maneuverability previously reserved only to car owners. And as the auto industry shifts to adapt to this new norm, Kalanick and Uber lead the charge toward a new future:

“When an exponential leader can think at this scale to say, “Okay, how do I take a product to service which was only available for the wealthy few and be able to digitize it, dematerialize it, demonetize it, and democratize it and make it available not for a million, but for a billion people?” All of a sudden — even if you dropped the price tenfold; if your markets gone up a thousand fold — you’re making a hundred times more money. And this is the future we’re living into. And this is the kind of mindset that an exponential leader needs to have when they look at their business.”


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