Uber & Notifications

Uber has gone from being a gimmick to a utility faster than anything else I’ve used on the Internet. It has made my life as a non-driving person quite comfortable — for a price of course. I visit the doctors often and Uber has made it easier than I could have ever imagined. It has become indispensable to my life and perhaps that’s why I’ve studied it closely. Uber is very similar to Google – data driven, almost devoid of emotion and obsessed with speed.

If Google focuses on returning search results as quickly as possible, then Uber is all about reducing the “time to curb.” The faster the time, the more their system is utilized and more likely we as customers are going to use Uber — something I explained in great detail in a column published in the June 2014 issue of the FastCompany magazine.

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All of this makes perfect sense. However, lately I have observed that when I get a notification that “your Uber is arriving now,” the car isn’t anywhere in sight and it’s often even five minutes away. Those five minutes sometimes are seven or ten minutes. It’s as if Uber kidnapped the cable guy, shrunk him into a gremlin and unleashed him into their system. Either way it is causing a level of unpleasantness that degrades their brand perception. I am considering Lyft and Flywheel, which previously has had literally no presence on my phone.

When I tweeted my observation, it became clear that I am not the only one who is experiencing these delays. The reaction on Twitter was decidedly negative, an early sign that something is not right. Hopefully Uber gets to the bottom of this soon, for as Bob Marley sang, “You can fool some people some times but you cant fool all the people all the time.”