Tag Archives: uber

Freelancing the World

The growth in the “gig” economy is booming because the structure of work today is so uneven. Jobs do not carry a guarantee that it will be there in five or ten years so people need to understand that they have to start doing something for themselves to ensure that they have a steady income in the future. The rise of apps that allow you to piecemeal a living wage is a blessing for many because they can now rely on different sources of income to make up for the lost hours from work.

More and more companies today are cutting hours because the costs are too high with many companies not having enough work for employees to do or, in the case of companies like Wal-Mart, restricting employees to only work a set number of hours and giving the rest to other employees to make up for the remaining hours, which takes away from someone working a full-hour work week and getting benefits. In order to handle such a living apps like Uber and Postmates are making it easier for people to gain a footing on their income by using their free time to pickup odd jobs for other people.

The start of the sharing Economy
The rise of this new market system started happening in the 70s when companies were encouraged to trim down their hiring practices but it wasn’t until the realization of what the internet could do that it started giving people more options for jobs. Ebay showed people that they could sell their own personal belongings to anyone in the world and turn that into a job. Amazon allowed people and companies to open up their own store online and sell directly through them enabling them to become the online store with everything. Then YouTube came along and turned visual content into a full time job and now that apps are around people are able to come up with new options of creating their own source of income in ways they never thought possible.

Ebay became the first online yard sale website to offer used items that people sold. The creative disruptors’ of the world saw this and knew the potential for what it was really worth. That is when you started seeing users who were making a lot of money off of Ebay because they were the first to embrace online purchasing with the use of paypal but they also saw that you could turn this into a full time job. The users who took advantage of what Ebay is all about, online marketing, became powersellers and would go out and find unique items to put up on their account to sell. Just think of the show, American Pickers, but with the hosts taking what they found and posting it up on Ebay to sell. In the case of Ebay you have a 1 seller to anyone ratio with the highest bid winning, just like at an auction but also the thrill of a game. If you listen to the song “Ebay” by Weird Al you can begin to see the crazy appeal that some people get out of using it.

Amazon started as this new website that allowed you to purchased stuff from a store online that you couldn’t actually visit to touch any of the products. The hard part about getting people to sign up and use it was getting people comfortable enough to use their credit card online. The appeal for businesses and entrepreneurs came when Amazon allowed them to set up their own store online because at the time, who knew how to build websites? There were no website building sites like there are today to make it easy so if anyone could post products and sell through Amazon, which they handled all the payments and processing, why not take advantage of that? Many people did because they could offer the best deals found online and still to this day Amazon offers some of the best deals online. The reason for this is because so many companies are signed up on Amazon just incase Amazon itself cannot offer the better deal they might have another company that does. Amazon now makes it very easy to self-publish your own books which many people have taken advantage of with some people publishing hundreds of books on their own that would have never gotten approved from formal book publishing companies.

YouTube then came in and showed people that you could post content online and make money doing that, entertaining people. Many people today make a nice living on making content that people enjoy watching which has really created this new economy of finding and creating your own kind of work which is exactly what the apps like Uber and Airbnb and even TaskRabbit now offer.

Apps for different skills
Once companies started using the internet more to outsource jobs that is when American’s realized they had to start finding new lines of work. Many people today rely solely on these apps to make up for their income. The required skill of time management is so key to balancing all these apps that you have to check them on a regular basis (meaning every 2 minutes) or risk losing a job to another person.

The reason companies went the route of outsourcing was because it allowed them to focus on what they do best instead of managing payroll and taxes and health benefits. The use of full time employees for that is a drag on helping the company stay lean and nimble in hard times. The use of contract employees for small projects is something more companies favor because it means no dealing with benefits of perks.

The growth in apps will only continue which means the more apps you find that connect people with other people for work, the faster the adoption of the app. People like apps that make it super easy to sign up and start making money. If you can make repairs around the house at a moment’s notice then apps like TaskRabbit and Thumbtack make it very easy to post a job and get a reply within a few minutes from people who are qualified.

The rise in personal projects such as errands, grocery shopping, and little household jobs are where Favor, Postmates, Fancyhands, JobRunners, Airtasker, Agent Anything, and Needto all come in and provide options for people to find work. People who are a jack of all trades would find websites like these a heaven sent option because it means they can look for quick jobs that last from a few minutes to a few short hours. I will provide a list below of all new companies that are joining in to provide these kind of services of connecting people with job takers.

The interesting thing to note is that many people who do use apps like Uber and Airbnb and TaskRabbit majority of them have college degrees and use their extra time to make a little extra money.

The Future of the Workplace
It is not surprising to learn that many companies are using these apps and websites to find short-term employees to fill in their labor needs. You might be wondering, “why not just hire those people then?” Well most jobs are not long term and many do not even fit a part-time requirement. Wonolo is a company that was created out of the Coca-Cola Founders platform, which helps entrepreneurs launch their startup ideas and started by AJ Brustein and Yong Kim.

The purpose of this two-year old company is to help companies find employees on short notice that are pre-screened and qualified for the work. Many of these jobs operate inside the companies they are hiring for so, for instance, they might need helping with packaging or shipping items or even delivering to customers. The range of work they have listed covers a broad range of jobs, some that require a college degree and experience and others that you are available and pre-screened.

The future of the workforce is such that it is cheaper to hire people this way for short-term projects then to keep people on full-time or part-time. How many times have you gone to work and seen people just fluttering around because they don’t have much work to do. The company could have spent that money on something better. That is why companies do not hire for long-term anymore and they are cutting and reducing jobs at a fast rate because it makes no sense to keep on a full staff of employees for jobs that only need work when the time comes.

The nice thing about sites like Wonolo, Amazon Home Services, and TaskRabbit is that they enable anyone, regardless of age, to be able to work and make a living doing what they are good at. There are some people who are great handy men but what company is hiring for that?  Now they can sign up with all these different services and start finding work right away. Wonolo has mentioned that their services help people promote themselves in jobs that would have been hard to get otherwise but that they do have a number of people who have secured full-time work using their service.

Full List of Gig Sharing Sites






Agent Anything


Amazon Home Services







News Article

In an Uber World, Fortune Favors the Freelancer

Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Workforce Anxieties

Corporate America Is Using the Sharing Economy to Turn Us Into Temps

Wonolo Hits Its Stride: How a Startup is Solving the On-Demand Staffing Dilemma, One Job at a Time

Ride Sharing Programs Increase in Austin

Lyft launches today in Austin to offer riders more options for getting where they need to go. The design behind some of these new ride sharing apps is that they help reduce the costs of traveling. Taxi drivers, who have been around forever, are required by the city, state, and federal level to comply with a certain compensation level when charging drivers. That is what some of these apps try to side step.

How Lyft Works

App Creation Stage
App creation is all the rage right now for people, either to hire someone to develop one or learn how to code one for yourself or business. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of the scope in which your app will be used, it’s not enough anymore to think that you just need a great idea and let everyone decide how they should use it. If your app crosses over into another established line of business you must be ready to deal with all the established legal rules in place otherwise you might get shut down. You should also consider if your app takes off in other countries how to deal with the demands and regulations from overseas.

There are app users who are First-Users, these are the individuals who like being the first ones to try out anything new and with apps they are no different. If any of your first time users are influencers in the market then your app needs to be ready to handle heavy traffic, something most first time app developers are less-experienced at.

In the case of ride sharing apps, this has been a booming economy of business because riders want less expensive options, which these programs provide. But if city regulation keeps interfering then how will riders find the best deal when all public transportation options work from the say fee structure?

Austin Struggles
Lyft has not been approved for operating in Austin but it’s push from corporate headquarters makes it an interesting case because it shows that they are more concerned with expansion and getting their brand recognized than following city and state regulation. There is a good chance that Lyft will come under fire for pushing ahead and ignoring approval because eventually they will need to comply with the rules otherwise face being shutdown. Right now Lyft is free, which allows them to bypass city regulation, and keeps the brand out there more.

As noted by the Austin Police department any “ground transportation vehicle, a compensated driver must carry an operating permit, a chauffer’s permit and commercial insurance. Violating any one of these requirements could result in up to a $500 fine, totaling a possible $1,500 fine if all requirements are violated. Additionally, drivers who do not comply with the law risk having their vehicle impounded.

Right now compensation in Austin is limited to 56 cents a mile to drivers, a price that is established on a federal level for any ridesharing company. Lyft works on a donation based model and any driver that signs up must go through a background check. Their suggested donation is priced at $1.92 per mile which well over the federal limit. Right now passengers in Austin will not be charged a fee, which makes you wonder how the drivers will be making any money for using their own vehicles in Austin. It might be the case that Lyft will be paying them directly in order to avoid the legal issues in Austin until they get everything worked out. If drivers are paid more than the .56 cents a mile Lfyt could come under scrutiny for their illegal business practices in Austin.

Benefits to Lyft Drivers
The benefits right now for being a Lyft driver is that you can make extra money to help pay for car payments or earn extra money to pay bills. Drivers are also given extra insurance to cover any problems that happen during the drive.

Austin Business News for Lyft
Austin Statesman News
KEYE News for Lyft
Lyft Twitter Page

More Ride Sharing Options
Uber is another ride sharing company that has come under a lot of legal pressure for operating in many cities that have tough regulations despite the warnings. Right now UK is fighting Uber but so has Austin, infact during the recent SXSW festival Austin Police Department warned festival goers to not use the service because they were not an approved transportation company in Austin. The point of the festival is to encourage innovation not stifle it, and for one week all kinds of companies are in Austin to showcase what they do and if they need to go through all the terrible bureaucracy that exists just to operate for one week in Austin then Austin’s municipal offices do not really understand the point of SXSW. Technology and innovation rely on their users which is why, services like Uber and Lyft, are taking off so fast despite the legal drawbacks, users want them but government entities want their fare share of the pie even if it means stifling innovation which they are very good at.

This is what spurs innovative companies like them to come about because people don’t like the current options in place so they create new products that fit what people want, that is what business is all about, meeting consumer needs.

Uber Twitter Page
Uber Austin’s Twitter Page
Uber Slams Legislation for attack on innovation

Other ride sharing companies trying to come about are Zimride which has the same idea for a ride sharing company but again uses a different model for charging riders. Until government officials understand that there can not be just one model in place, riders will look for the option that best fits their needs, not the needs of municipal office pockets. Another ride sharing program, SideCar, was side tracked because it did not comply with city regulation, another innovative company pushed out because of bureaucracy.

SideCar, Uber, and Lyft all ask SF Mayor for Support

ZimRide Twitter Page
SideCar Twitter Page

Additional Transportation options in Austin include
City Bike Share Program

Think those personal assistant apps are really free? Here’s the true cost

People enjoy having the small things in life taken care of for them. It’s nice knowing that when you pick up your smartphone, what you wanted to know is already on the screen waiting for you or that the flight you were scheduled for got canceled but thanks to having loaded your credit card information into the app ahead of time it was able to reschedule you another flight close to the same time as your canceled flight. Boy, life is sure grand now that we have these kinds of assistants running our lives for us and we don’t even have to pay them a compliment.

That’s the one thing you get to do for free. These apps though, in exchange for your personal habits, information, credit card numbers, social media connections, and photos, actually cost a lot if you actually wanted some privacy. The reason these apps are free in the first place is because the companies who make them are banking off the millions of pieces of data you feed these apps everytime you are around your phone or connect them to any service it requests (i.e., facebook, twitter, instagram, any online calendar, email, etc). You are giving all these apps personal and private information in exchange for using the app for free. Google Now and S Voice are some of the more popular personal assistants that people enjoy using. In order to use them you have to be signed into the service all the time. This means that your phone is recording everything around it all the time including the number of people in a room, temperature, motion, placement, and many other things that Google and Samsung have probably not told us.

Contextual Computing is basically what these types of services are called. They analyze information based on it’s location, or context, in which the phone is used. For example, if you leave the house everyday at 8 am and check the traffic, it will know to bring that up for you around that time just when you are getting near the door. Pretty nice, huh? But you just feed that app thousands of pieces of personal information that Google, or whatever other company’s app you use, can process and data mine to figure out how to sell to advertisers, because when it all comes down to it, what good is all this information for? Advertisers, plain and simple. Imagine if the world used this information for good instead of evil? Which ironically enough is the motto of Google, “Don’t be Evil.”

You cannot deny that these apps have made our lives a whole lot easier to manage, especially if you are a mom who has to manage your partner’s schedule and children’s after-school programs. These apps are especially helpful in knowing when to schedule events and how to get around places the fastest. Whether you like it or not these apps are coming preinstalled on most smartphones now and are in use the second you use your phone. So whether you are interested in jumping on board now or later, because eventually you will have to in order to manage the social milieu that the future will bring us, it’s better to start understanding how they work and how to use them because life will only get more complex now that technology will be something we will all wear everyday. Don’t worry that self-drying Jacket from Back to the Future 2 is just around the corner.

Pretty soon what you wear will be telling you more about you than you knew about yourself

Here are a few popular digital assistants to try out

Google Now

S Voice (preinstalled on Samsung devices)



Aviate (Invite Only)

Mynd (Requires access to lots of personal information and apps on your phone)

EasilyDo (Requires access to lots of personal information and apps on your phone)