This week, Uber is rolling out its latest type of carpooling service — Express Pool. Customers in selected metropolitan areas will share rides with other passengers but instead of getting door to door service they may be picked up and dropped off a block or two from their preferred locations.
Tom Schryver, visiting lecturer at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and an experienced entrepreneur, served as a startup founder and senior finance executive of high-growth companies and says that Uber is willingly disrupting its original market position – once both high value and niche.
“Uber is doing something very bus-like while claiming that they are completely different - this is consistent with their strategy of testing regulatory frameworks and seeing what happens - asking forgiveness, not permission. Such a strategy can be useful for startups who have more of a risk-taking culture than incumbent players. Tesla has followed a similar approach, aggressively rolling out ‘auto pilot’ functions while it’s much better funded competitors have taken a much lower risk approach to rolling out self-driving features.
“Remember when Uber was just for ordering a town car in San Francisco and then New York? This is a great example of a startup beginning with a high value niche market and then using that position to drive downward into lower priced, lower margin and much higher volume markets.”