As a San Francisco resident I sometimes take for granted the privilege of living in a city of early-adopters. My parents visited recently and when introduced to services like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Taskrabbit and others they made the comment that “you guys really live in The Future”.
Many of us forget how much things have changed in the past 5 years. For the most part, we do live in the future and The Future is good. The level of convenience and efficiency that these services and others bring is unmatched in any other period of history. Using my smartphone, I have at my fingertips the ability to instantly fulfil my wants. Whether it’s a meal, a ride or a one on one session with a personal coach, we all wield in our back pockets magical instruments. These give us ‘superpowers’ that just one decade ago were exclusively available to the wealthiest elite.
Whether this is good or bad, such is our reality these days. And from what I can tell, as a society we happily accept this new age of ubiquitous availability and convenience with open arms. The children of today will get used to this ubiquity just like we got used to ubiquitous electricity, running water and internet connectivity. That is why, when we hear of the strong resistance to the positive change technology brings, we are perplexed, even upset.
It was recently announced that the French National Assembly voted into effect the pro-taxi “Thévenoud law,” trying to curb rideshare companies from bringing innovation to passengers in France. The law hinders growth of companies like Uber, Chauffeur-Privé, LeCab, SnapCar and others by requiring drivers to:Return to their dispatch after each ride (Taxis don’t have to)
Return to their dispatch after each ride (Taxis don’t have to)
Stop using geolocalization services to connect drivers to the closest passengers (Taxis may still do that)
This adds up to similar regulation in other places (including Germany, Spain, Israel and others). No one in their right mind would let the internet-cafe lobby change the regulation and force the FCC to make mobile connectivity illegal. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the type of thing we see in some of these markets
We believe that innovation cannot be stopped or undone. We hope that eventually common sense will win, and that next time my parents visit Paris they would be impressed not only by the art, food and culture, but also by how the familiarity of their favorite services made their stay easy and seamless. Just like you’d expect it, in The Future.