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Uber @ $200 billion ? ... possible.

Sounds almost crazy doesn't it? Not according to Google Ventures.

But then so did the idea of a lightbulb as an engine of productivity in 1879...yes that's just after Edison's year of work trying to make it practical (a device invented 60+ years earlier) paid off but still there was so much to do, there was no grid, no national or state or even city power system, in fact there were no efficient ways to generate and distribute electric power....there were motors and generators but for building a grid different approaches were required.

So creative engineers like Nikola Tesla (who was hired by Edison at one point) and others implemented AC generators using 3 phase designs and others contributed all manner of technology for defining a grid and transmitting power to remote locations. Camps formed between Edison's lighting company and Westinghouse , the electric wars began!
In 1882 the first electrically powered building was turned on as fed by Edison's power generation facility in lower Manhattan, NYC at Pearl St. and then the race began to map the nation with copper power lines (it had a good amount of morse code runs in place but this was a different beast).
Fast forward 15 years and Edison lighting company became General Electric after swallowing some competitors and had won the wars and power generation facilities and lines were rapidly spreading all over the country. Now the light bulb was making a lot of money as homes, businesses and institutions all over the world were buying them to keep the light going through out the night...essentially doubling human productivity with a single technological stroke. This is the vision that kept Edison at work on the bulb in 1878 he knew the gold mine it could be.
Now the bulb really made sense...and now the millions rolled in, fast forward 100 years....and General Electric is STILL the worlds largest power and distribution company, want to talk about influence??
What does this have to do with Uber?
Well some may laugh at the valuation given the current revenue but the fact of the matter is that Uber manages almost no physical hardware. They don't buy or license the cars, they pay the drivers but that's cool, they also maintain and develop the smart phone app. that allows customers to find drivers...but each ride they take a cut from. They provide a way for drivers who want to pick up fairs as a taxi to do so and they share a cut...and as they scale their costs stay exactly tied to what they are paying out to the drivers, their revenue is linked to their growth in terms of customers signed up for the service and actively using it coupled to the number of drivers they have servicing those customers.
It's right next to free money and it's disruption of the taxi and cab entrenched hegemonies in cities all over the world has just started.
$200 billion in revenue off of a global system in which they manage zero hardware but take a cut on how that hardware is deployed to satisfy the fair pickup sounds like a small target to hit.
Their window of opportunity is not big though.... when Google self driving cars come along and Tesla electric cars are made self driving, the need for human drivers will go a way, cities in particular, will put laws in place to actively retard against human driving particularly in urban areas in lieu of automated transport which will be more efficient and safer than human drivers in dense conditions...that may start the beginning of the end for Uber's current business model, they'll have to shift (to buy a fleet and /or deploy robot taxi's easy enough) but they may have to take a revenue rate hit for doing cars cost money and then they will have to own and manage fleets of them...OR simply as private owners are pushed out of their cars by the mentioned laws against human driving in high density areas (exactly the cities where Uber taxi's make such sense) Uber can simply lease their cars and either upgrade them in exchange to self driving status so that they can use the cars when the users don't need them which would keep their revenue going fine again or if the cars are already self driving lease them directly.

So again that $200 billion doesn't look so hard to hit at all.

Like the light bulb of 1887 Uber's business model seems unclear if you don't see the future that it can swim in...but like Edison saw the future the bulb could swim in and had to then built it.
Uber on the other hand doesn't even have to build it, they just have to wait and continue to take money, sounds like a good deal to me.


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