About godsdog

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

Instacart will pay $4.6 million to settle a class action lawsuit with its workers – Recode

The settlement is a drop in the bucket for Instacart, which just closed a new $400 million investment that values the startup at around $3 billion. The company has now raised nearly $700 million from venture capital firms and strategic partners like Whole Foods.

Source: Instacart will pay $4.6 million to settle a class action lawsuit with its workers – Recode

City barrels ahead with on-demand fuel rules | News | Mountain View Online |

At least eight companies have been offering what they call on-demand gas service across the Bay Area. Building on the endless demand for convenience, these new services allow residents or businesses to schedule a gas truck to swing by and fuel up any requested vehicle, saving customers the hassle of a gas-station trip. The companies insist the service is safe, cheap and simple.

But is it legal? That’s not entirely clear. Like many other start-ups, the emerging industry been operating in a legal gray area, pushing forward a business plan while safety regulators try to catch up.

Source: City barrels ahead with on-demand fuel rules | News | Mountain View Online |

Is the era of cheap Uber rides over? — Quartz

These three incidents, separated by three oceans, represent a serious threat to Uber’s business model. Most of the 81 countries in which Uber operates—with the exception of the US—have some form of value-added tax. Some call it GST, others VAT. Uber seems to have so far managed to avoid paying these taxes. (Uber didn’t respond to our request for a list of countries where it pays these taxes and where it doesn’t.) Thus, any change in policy could mean that Uber will owe hundreds of millions of additional dol

Source: Is the era of cheap Uber rides over? — Quartz

What everyone assumes about rights in the gig economy is wrong | Jason Moyer-Lee | Opinion | The Guardian

Ever since couriers joined the union we have been raising the issue of the complete lack of workers’ rights in the “gig economy”. The lack of employment rights, and the total impunity with which companies have been allowed to act, is nothing short of astounding. A prime example is the case of the courier firm Hermes, which has been accused of abusive practices and failing to pay the minimum wage. Similarly, despite the fact that bike courier Maggie Dewhurst wears a CitySprint uniform, has a CitySprint ID an

Source: What everyone assumes about rights in the gig economy is wrong | Jason Moyer-Lee | Opinion | The Guardian

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death – The New Yorker

Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit—taking ride requests while she was in labor!—is an “exciting” example of how seamless and flexible app-based employment can be. Look at that hustle! You can make a quick buck with Lyft anytime, even when your cervix is dilating.

Source: The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death – The New Yorker

Uber in Twin Cities will bring puppy to your door for a 15-minute cuddle – StarTribune.com

The ride-sharing service announced that Uber subscribers can open their phone app on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for tail-wagging affection. The cost is $30, and Uber says a portion of the fee will go toward supporting its partner, Secondhand Hounds in Eden Prairie.

Source: Uber in Twin Cities will bring puppy to your door for a 15-minute cuddle – StarTribune.com

Lyft Users Have Tipped Drivers $200 Million | Fortune.com

By June 2016, drivers using the Lyft on-demand ride-hailing app had earned $100 million in tips—a milestone that had taken four years from the company’s founding to achieve. It took just another nine months for Lyft drivers to collect another $100 million, an illustration of the startup’s growth in the past year.

Source: Lyft Users Have Tipped Drivers $200 Million | Fortune.com

Uber Employees Use Secret Tools To Target Drivers And Undercut Competition

Uber’s tactics here go beyond what has been previously disclosed about the $70 billion ride-hailing giant, and feels uniquely Uber—secretive and somewhat underhanded. For one thing, this particular use of what is now called Heaven View hasn’t been previously reported, and the tool itself has been cited in an ongoing lawsuit involving one of the company’s former security experts.

Source: Uber Employees Use Secret Tools To Target Drivers And Undercut Competition

What Happens If Uber Fails? – The Atlantic

This is a key point—perhaps the key point that will determine whether Uber lives or dies. Uber isn’t worth $70 billion because it is actually worth $70 billion. Its valuation is that high despite the fact that it’s not profitable, and despite the fact that it has little protection from competitors baked into what it is and does. Uber’s valuation, in other words, is a reflection of the global marketplace and not a reflection of Uber’s own durability as a company.

Source: What Happens If Uber Fails? – The Atlantic