We’re on a 3-day RV trip in Bend, OR right now.
We didn’t take a car so every time we want to go somewhere (like to get the best fish tacos in the world at Parilla!) we’ve had to pack up our 34’ motorhome and navigate that big honkin thing through town.
And today we went to Worthy Brewery for lunch where my sister works. After lunch I told my wife I wanted to stay in town and work for a couple hours since the WiFi at the campground is super slow and my cell service is bad there too.
So at one of the red lights I just walked out of the side of the motorhome and over to Barnes and Noble to setup shop. I had a good call with one of my partners and got a few important tasks done before calling it a night.
Afterward I met up with some friends in Bend. After hanging out for a couple hours I needed a ride home. Thankfully the city of Bend just got Uber today!
So I pulled out my phone and requested a driver. Within 6 minutes they were there. The guys name was Jason and we had a nice chat during our 15 minute drive from the restaurant to the campground. The bill was only $10.91 since there was a 50% discount because it was Uber’s first day here.
On the drive Jason told me that his girlfriend is a bartender here in town and she said the taxi service here is horrible. Apparently the average wait time is between one and 1.5 hours!
I waited 6 minutes. I couldn’t imagine having to wait 10 times as long to get a ride. That would be so annoying.
And this is just one more reason why I love capitalism and entrepreneurs. If there was not incentive to create a better solution than the taxi service then there would be no Uber and I would have waited outside that restaurant in the cold for an hour.
I know a lot of cities and people are fighting Uber. The taxi cab unions don’t want them there for obvious reasons. But do they really think they can stand in the way of a service that’s far more superior than theirs?
Instead of trying to stop them why not learn from them and reinvent themselves? Why not try to respond in 5 minutes instead of 6 minutes? Or offer something that people would love.
But they don’t and so they will become extinct. Just like Blockbuster Video, who by the way, still has one store in Bend. It’s independent so when Blockbuster went under apparently these guys chose to stay in business. We drove by it yesterday and I pointed out the window and said, “Look kids, that’s an extinct business, a very rare species that’s not around anymore.” My wife rolled her eyes because, yes, I am nerd.
Anyway, what’s the lesson here? Innovate or become extinct. Your choice.