Uber and the protests

As you have already read in the news, there is an ongoing backlash against Uber (#deleteUber). This happened because some stories about Uber’s support of Trump surfaced online. People are switching to Lyft. In a very nice move (it might be marketing, who knows?),  Lyft donated 1 million USD to the American Civil Liberties Union in support for the fight against the executive order that bans citizens from several countries to enter the US.

Uber is not new to this type of backlashes. Companies, in general, are not new to backlashes and I am sure they have a team of public affairs specialists that deal with this right now. As a matter of fact, Uber just announced that it will donate 3 million USD to protecting the drivers that might be affected by the order.

I have researched Uber extensively in the past 2 years. Besides that, I have also researched a critical moment in the life of Reddit, the backlash it received from its user due to concerns related to freedom of speech. What I want to suggest is that this backlash for Uber is not the same as the governments’ resistance to change. This time it comes from consumers.

As in the case of Reddit, the consumers might have more power in shifting strategy when they are mobilised than governments have. Of course, the reason is the power of money. This doesn’t mean that Uber will go bankrupt, but we should see in the following days a strategic adjustment coming from Uber’s headquarters.

Another lesson that has to be taken from these events is that non-market forces need to be better integrated into a company’s strategy. For this to happen, we need more business experts trained in sociology and political science or political scientists trained in business.