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Tag Archives: technology

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Is UBER Doing Bad By Doing Good?

Katia Arias one comments

Disruptive innovation is a great thing. In fact, we need this type of innovation to offer better products and services in time. The catch is, however, when a business model seeks to “disrupt” an existing system, the adjustment period can be very tough and harshly unbalancing for those disrupted. Which, in turn, raises the questions of “does innovation do more bad trying to do good? Or, “Is the “bad” more an excuse for big corporations to keep the status quo?”

The incredibly successful carpool platform known as UBER was officially launched in San Francisco, California in 2011. Built as a mobile application, the founders intended to shift the cab services from the “market economy” into the “shared economy”, where every-day car owners could put their car to work and those who were carless could get a pleasant ride for cheap.

In theory it all seems great, more jobs have been created and people get cheaper rides. Why then, are there so many parties fighting against new e-based models?

twitter-picture

Source: twitter.com/WetpaintMena

The primary allegation comes from the taxi industry. The fact that UBER drivers don’t have to face the strict regulations taxi drivers do creates a competition gap that is perceived as unfair.

According to an article from Bruegel.org, taxi licenses can cost as much as $1M in the USA, which, in turn, creates an entry barrier to the industry and keep the competition in check. With UBER previously requiring no license, taxi license prices went down by almost 30% in some states and taxi drivers were slowly being kicked out of the market. In Toronto, Canada “drivers have lost a third of their business since 2012” due to this issue.

On a similar note, fixed ride rates have also given UBER a significant advantage over the cab industry. UBER drivers are allowed to “surge price” and fix their rates depending on demand volumes and time of the day/year. Cab drivers, on the other hand, depend on the government for pricing regulations and are limited to an hourly wage.

Source: bizjournals.com

Source: bizjournals.com

So, even if it is understandable why Taxi drivers consider their UBER counterparts a “scam”, the cab industry complaints went further to say UBER was unsafe and even threatening to passengers since drivers were not required to fulfill background checks and driving tests like taxi drives do.

Taking everything into consideration, UBER has advanced its application requirements by requesting a proper background check along with a vehicle check and a city-specific set of regulations.

The second allegation, though, comes from drivers themselves. Although UBER currently employs 160,000 drivers who seem happy with the job, many find it to be below decent standards.

UBER drivers get paid after every ride but 20% of what they make goes back to the company. On top of this they are responsible of covering gasoline, repairs, insurance and registration costs plus any depreciation. Drivers are also required to own a smartphone (unless they rent from UBER for $10/week) and do not receive proper worker compensations for they are considered contractors and not employees.

Source: Uber.com

Source: Uber.com

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coding

5 websites to learn to code- for free!

Karen Padilla 3 comments

Nowadays we all know that technology helps us to be more productive in almost all aspects of our lives. You can create automated reports for your boss in minutes instead of wasting the whole weekend gathering together all the information you need- which involves calling back and forth your team trying to understand where the numbers come from. You can also use as many apps as you wish on your phone to help you organize your best friend’s wedding *the wedding of the year!*.  Or at college you can simply take a shot of the whiteboard to have all the info you’ll need for the exam, instead of wasting all your energy writing it down in paper- like if you were in the 20th century…

We love technology and some of us can’t even fathom spending a single day without it. But when it comes to the core of the matter- coding, which is the wizard that creates all the magic that we see on our screens- most people get uneasy. We prefer our IT-team- or our teenagers- to handle it. After watching a TED talk from Mitch Resnick, a computer scientist that directs the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab and helps kids of all ages experiment with design and coding, I got really inspired to learn more about coding.

If you want/need to get inspired, watch the video here.

He said: “Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes- it’s for everyone… If you learn to code, then you code to learn. These ideas are useful to everybody.”, and I definitely believe it. A lot of problems that I’ve had can be easily solved by customizing or developing a program, but I don’t know how to code.  So, since talk is cheap, I googled it and found some awesome websites to learn how to code for free! I hope you find them useful and join me in this journey of zeros, ones, strings and variables.

  1. At Codecademy, you can learn how to write simple commands in JavaScript, HTML and CSS, Python and Ruby. Great to warm up engines by getting to know four of the most commonly used programing languages.
  2. Stanford University’s Udacity is one of many sites that make college courses—including Introduction to Computer Science—available online for free.
  3. Coursera is another great site that offers college courses for free. The course The Data Scientist’s Toolbox from Johns Hopkins University will give you an overview of the data and tools that data analysts scientists work with, including R programming.
  4. Code School offers online courses in a wide range of programming languages, design and web tools.
  5. Treehouse provides online video courses and exercises to help you learn technology skills.

Love Coding

 

If you are more of a practical person, who wants to implement something innovative in your business ASAP, you might want to take a look at  Dash. Here you will learn how to make an awesome website by using HTML, CSS and Javascript through fun projects on a simple interface.

Sources:

TEDBlog

 

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