When Uber puts surge pricing in place on a Saturday night, say, two things happen. The first is that some drivers who otherwise might sit at home enjoying life now find it worthwhile to spend time picking up people and taking them where they want to go. The second is that some people who want a ride decide to either delay their trip for a bit or find an alternative way (taxi, bus, walk, friend) to get to their planned destination. Some will decide to cancel their trip when they see the cost of getting an Uber.
These effects are particularly important when there is danger that people wish to flee. Last night in New York City there was an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood. No one at the time knew for sure what the cause was or whether it was part of more general danger in the area. A lot of people wanted to get out of the area and get out quickly. Surge pricing encouraged drivers to face potential danger. It also signaled to potential passengers whose desire for a ride was not urgent to step aside and make room for those whose need was very urgent indeed. The beauty of prices is that these people do not have to know what is going on. The higher price sends them a message.
New Ridesharing Service for Women May Not Pass Go For a wide variety of reasons, from safety to solidarity, a ridesharing service only for women seems like an outstanding idea. Launching next week in Boston, Chariot for Women will offer better background checks, only female drivers, and no surge pricing. Sounds great, but it’s probably illegal, a bitter irony considering how Uber, whose failings this new service seeks to counter, succeeded at first precisely by flaunting existing laws and policies.
Slacking in Public Slack the software tool is in large part about transparency in organizations, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Slack the company is aiming to be transparent with some of its most important partners. Slack’s goal is to be a platform where others create value. Its executives know that the most successful platforms are those that make it easiest for developers to know what’s coming up, so they can be prepared and do their best work. In the service of that, Slack has published an ongoing Trello-based platform roadmap for developers. It’s new and there’s not much there so far — we’ll see how it develops — but it’s a sign that one maturing unicorn knows who it needs to satisfy.