back to article What's that? Uber isn't actually worth $82bn? Reverse-gear IPO shows the gig (economy) is up

It couldn't have happened to a nastier company. San Francisco-based Uber has had a miserable stock market debut. One of the most anticipated IPOs in years saw the tech biz value itself at $82bn with a share price of $45. C'mon. Literally no one believes that Uber is actually worth $82bn, especially when it continues to lose …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Efficient Market

    Logically the company should IPO at exactly what the market thinks it is worth and so it should trade at exactly that price.

    The wild first day 100% rises in IPO were an example of either gross stupidity or being forced to give 20% of the company to the banks underwriting the IPO who withhold liquidity and then immediately sold to bigger fools

    With smarter pre-IPO investors, the threat of a direct listing, founders keeping bigger stakes, limits on employees cashing out - you should expect saner IPOs

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Efficient Market

      I think the market is overpricing it right now. Nothing they have is heavily moated, except for their drivers who they eff over, and their first mover advantage has mostly consisted of folks thinking they’re a**holes.

      But theirs is still a valuable service so it will be fought over. Companies with nicer PR may have an easier time w municipalities. Their biggest advantage is brand awareness in a context where that is paramount above all (even if brand is toxic). So they could something off. Just m

      aybe not 70B$ worth.

      1. cosymart
        WTF?

        Re: Efficient Market

        "I think the market is overpricing it right now. Nothing they have is heavily moated, except for their drivers who they eff over, and their first mover advantage has mostly consisted of folks thinking they’re a**holes.

        But theirs is still a valuable service so it will be fought over. Companies with nicer PR may have an easier time w municipalities. Their biggest advantage is brand awareness in a context where that is paramount above all (even if brand is toxic). So they could something off. Just maybe not 70B$ worth."

        The only part of this tosh I understood was the last bit: "Just maybe not 70B$ worth". Don't they teach English on your planet?

        1. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Efficient Market

          Vocabulary too complicated for you?

          Moats is a common investing term which means a defence against competitors copying you.

          Uber’s been struggling with a lot of cities’ taxi lobbies. Some of it is due to vested interests in taxi licenses (each going for 500$k easy). But it’s easier to cover up any lobbyist-based resistance when the company you are dealing with is a byword for toxic corporate hubris.

          I dare guess that my “ESL” is considerably better than whatever your dumb ass can speak as a second language, if you even know any.

          I can type more slowly if it helps ;-)

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Efficient Market

      Well, logically you are quite correct. In the same tone we should logically see Über testing their "AI" without managing to kill the occasional cyclist.

      Unfortunately where logic meets greed, then greed always wins.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Efficient Market

        The question wasn't whether robo cars will kill more cyclists than are currently murdered by taxi drivers drivers - it was why Uber's share price didn't do the crazy unicorn 100% rise on day 1.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Efficient Market

          If the bicycle riders would learn a little basic physics they would probably stay out from under 1 ton+ motorized vehicles. The old equation f=ma doesn't change just because your are a holier than thou exercise freak with delusions of saving the planet.

          Share the road, bicyclistotards ... you don't own it. Not even in San Francisco, the national home of terminally insane local government, where they deal with the homeless problem by throwing massive amounts of money at them, thus ensuring that they are attracted like moths to a flame. Build it, and they will come, SF.

          (I live in Sonoma; most of us up here think of SF as an awful speed-bump that has to be traversed to get from Marin and points North to San Mateo and points South. It definitely isn't a place to stop, nor is it a destination. 'orrible, 'orrible, grotty hell-hole of a city. Not as sad and filthy as New York, London, Paris or Rome, but they are working on it.)

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Efficient Market

            Don't be that asshole jake.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Efficient Market

              Struck a nerve, did I?

              Might want to ask yourself why, and what you can do about it.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Efficient Market

                Don't be a dick Jake.

                "Very few pedestrian fatalities involve cyclists. Of the 448 pedestrians killed by a vehicle in 2016, 3 were caused by cyclists, compared to 289 by cars. These levels have been broadly consistent over the past five years"

                Source: https://fullfact.org/health/cyclist-deaths/

                Oh, and let's challenge that persistent myth about cyclists and red lights too:

                "a new study from the Danish Road Directorate found that less than 5 per cent of cyclists break traffic laws compared to 66 per cent of motorists"

                Source: https://road.cc/content/news/260509-cyclists-far-less-likely-break-traffic-laws-motorists-finds-study

                1. 0laf Silver badge
                  Flame

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  (TLDR) But which laws? Driver probably break the law speeding, and tailgating most often. If you take those out what do the results stand at?

                  I'm not a cyclist hater, I see many more stupid and dangerous things done every day by drivers than cyclists. But I think cyclist have some 'evangelists' that go out tooled up with cameras looking for trouble and that engenders a lot of bad feeling.

                2. Valerion

                  Traffic laws != red lights.

                  "a new study from the Danish Road Directorate found that less than 5 per cent of cyclists break traffic laws compared to 66 per cent of motorists"

                  It may well be that cars in general break more traffic laws than cyclists, but in the specific case of red lights, cyclists win hands down. Literally every day on my drive to work in South London I see at least 10 cyclists go through red lights deliberately - mostly at major junctions. On more than one occasion I've seen that many go through a single set all together whilst I'm sitting there waiting. There really does seem to be weird sense of entitlement amongst them that red lights just don't apply to them*

                  I've never seen a car do the same (I'm sure it happens - I've just not seen it).

                  *I'm sure all commentard-cyclists here are fully law-abiding and would not even dream of it.

                  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                    Meh

                    Re: 0laf

                    "I'm not a cyclist hater, I see many more stupid and dangerous things done every day by drivers than cyclists. But I think cyclist have some 'evangelists' that go out tooled up with cameras looking for trouble and that engenders a lot of bad feeling."

                    I've been a cyclist for about 5 years now and the police do <u>fuck all</u> even with evidence when a serious offence is reported to them. It's unfair to criticise people for having an inexpensive camera mounted to their (probably expensive) transport to pursue a prosecution, when the chance of being killed in a minor crash is high. I don't have a camera but i see why so many do.

                    RE: Valerion: "I've never seen a car do the same"

                    You've never seen a car pass a red light? That must be a lie. I see them every day on the way back from work. I even see them driving on the wrong side of the road commonly, and without lights on in the dark some evenings. I'd love more traffic police around and speed cameras.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: 0laf

                      "You've never seen a car pass a red light? That must be a lie"

                      BS. Here we have a fanatic, obviously.

                      I've seen, but the ratio is about 50 to 1, cyclists just don't give a fuck about red lights or *any rules* of traffic.

                      No register plate, no traceability, no consequences, why not? Obviously no-one is making them.

                      Pedestrians are even worse, but cyclists are much faster.

                      1. werdsmith Silver badge

                        Re: 0laf

                        I rarely see drivers ignore red lights, though I have seen it. But drivers rushing amber and crossing just as it or a second second after it goes red because it’s too late to stop is common. Yes I know they should stop on amber.

                        Cyclists going wrong way on one way, on pavements, or without lights at night is just normal.

                        Cyclists insisting on taking their priority even when it’s dangerous is also quite common and motorists generally yield in the same situation.

                        I’m a cyclist too.

                        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                          Pint

                          Re: 0laf

                          "I rarely see drivers ignore red lights, though I have seen it."

                          That's interesting. It's like a free-for-all here in the Midlands. Very few people indicate, very few stick to their lane. It's getting terribly dangerous some days. There's people crossing red lights and one-way streets often too. You can't go a week without seeing someone drving anti-clockwise on a roundabout.

                          Near me we have one of those pedestrianised roads in the middle of town that's only for buses, taxis and cyclists...It's made over £2 million in 2 years from people not reading the signs on every post and driving through anyway.

                          I guess i should say "your region may vary"

                    2. Valerion

                      Re: 0laf

                      You've never seen a car pass a red light? That must be a lie.

                      I meant at that specific junction - the one where cyclists never seem to obey it. I have seen plenty of cars go through red lights in general in my life, but still a tiny fraction of the number of cyclists that do it. However mostly this is due to not noticing/being distracted. Sure, that is absolutely not a excuse, but the cyclists do it on purpose.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  "a new study from the Danish Road Directorate"

                  Meaning it is Denmark. Hardly relevant.

                  Also "66% of motorists" are all speeding, not red lights. Put 40km/h/25mph speed limit everywhere and 66% of motorists won't obey that.

                  I don't wonder when those are at the highways too.

                  So basically 100% propaganda where some cyclists whine motorists don't obey speed limit in a highway while cyclists won't obey anything in town and get killed because of that.

                4. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  road.cc is a cyclist fan site. Hardly expected to tell anything as it is.

                  How the "study" was made:

                  " ... consulting firm Rambøll using video cameras at major junctions in several Danish cities, including Copenhagen."

                  Those cameras exist solely for catching speeding cars. No wonder only 5% of cyclists were speeding.

                  But of course road.cc doesn't mention that at all, no reason to burden people with whole truth. And then we have these people who read propaganda as whole truth.

          2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Efficient Market

            I live in London and have recently been in New York and Rome. Big cities are harder to manage, yes, but living in a big city gives you the everything that civilisation offers. If you like every kind of music, food, books, theatre, sports, you name it, big cities are the place to be. I can't think of any reason at all to live in Sonoma, aside from scenery. I guess it depends on what you think makes for a life worth living.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Efficient Market

              But Hollerithevo, all those trappings of so-called "civilization" produce massive quantities of waste, all concentrated in one little, tiny location for your perusal. Not just trash/garbage, but air pollution, noise pollution, mind pollution, and more. Even people pollution; Manhattan has 73,000 people sq/mi (just under 20x20 ft per person), SF "only" 18,000 people sq/mi (just under 40x40 ft per person). Why anyone would think that is good for human beings is beyond me. And before you ask, yes. I've lived in both places. Never again. 'orrible, 'orrible thing to do to yourself.

            2. Cederic Bronze badge

              Re: Efficient Market

              I guess civilisation doesn't offer beautiful landscapes, fresh air or peace and tranquility.

          3. The Onymous Coward

            Re: Efficient Market

            Cyclists aren't a separate species, Jake. In the UK, 85% of people who sometimes ride bikes also sometimes drive cars. Only 1 in 10 drivers also cycle, however.

            Do you now see why your post is ludicrous?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Efficient Market

              "Cyclists aren't a separate species"

              Can you show me where I said otherwise?

              "Do you now see why your post is ludicrous?"

              Your post has absolutely zero bearing on what I wrote. Quantities and percentages of riders/drivers have nothing to do with simple physics. Fact is, in a fight between an automobile and a bike, the bike loses. Every time. In my opinion, bicycalistotards forgetting this very, very simple fact is foolhardy at best. Suicidal at worst.

              Couple the above with ASSUMING that the idiot in the cage can/has seen them is just plain daft. Bicycalistotards need to stop assuming they can ride offensively, and they should start driving defensively. Logic dictates it, if nothing else.

              Note that I'm not calling for bikes to get off the road. Far from it, I ride a bike myself. What I'm calling for is bikes to SHARE the road, not assume that THEY own it. Which is the state of affairs we have in San Francisco at the moment.

              1. jonnycando

                Re: Efficient Market

                Ummm...yeah, cyclists are indeed a separate species. Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

                1. STOP_FORTH
                  Joke

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  I like to think of them as fit, healthy, mobile organ donors. If they were a separate species they'd be no use.

                  N.B. just bought a new bike myself, but I live somewhere fairly rural. Probably end up as two-dimensional road-kill. You won't get my liver, you vultures.

              2. The Onymous Coward

                Re: Efficient Market

                One man's "offensive" is another man's "assertive". I'm not sure what you mean by "offensive". Taking the lane? Flicking Vs?

                You ascribe a single riding style to all cyclists. That's untrue and nonsensical. If you ride dangerously, you die. In London, even if you ride safely, you can still die. There are morons using all modes of transport, however the data shows that cyclists are about 8 times more likely to also have a driver's point of view than vice versa. Your point about cars being more deadly than bikes means what? That riders should just allow themselves to be bullied off the road?

                "I ride a bike too" is the new "Some of my best friends are black." It tends to be used by people who pootle around the park with the kids on a weekend, then get in their cars and punishment-pass those of us using a bike as transport, on the roads.

                1. Cederic Bronze badge

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  re: "I ride a bike too" is the new "Some of my best friends are black."

                  What's wrong with someone having best friends that are black? You want to proscribe friendship on racial grounds now?

                  I don't ride a bike now, too much cycling has done my knees in. I do know how to ride safely and I do see many cyclists that ride dangerously. Should I be prevented from pointing out their idiocy because I no longer cycle to work?

                  Ride safely, obey traffic laws, understand how larger vehicles are likely to behave and plan for it. It's not hard.

                  1. tfb Silver badge
                    Alien

                    Re: Efficient Market

                    I think you missed the subtext of 'some of my best friends are black'. Or, in other words, whoosh.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Efficient Market

                    "Some of my best friends are black."

                    Just for your enlightenment, this is the oft used phrase just after someone has said something racist or acted in a racist way. It is said as a way of explaining that there is no way they could be racist as "Some of my best friends are black".

                    Quite often the fuller phrase is "Now don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are black..."

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Efficient Market

                      My bike is black. Does that count?

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Efficient Market

                Sure, I'll share the road. I'll use my two foot wide lane, and you use your two foot wide lane. Fair enough?

            2. Clive Galway
              Stop

              Re: Efficient Market

              "85% of people who sometimes ride bikes also sometimes drive cars"

              Citation please.

              Maybe you are mis-quoting this? https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics

              "85% of the people aged 18+ who cycled also held a driving licence"

              But then the other statistic is wildly different to what you quoted:

              "31% of the people who held driving licences also cycled"

              Given two sets, C (Cyclists) and D (Drivers)...

              C ∩ D is 10% of D ("Only 1 in 10 drivers also cycle")

              C ∩ D is 85% of C ("85% of people who sometimes ride bikes also sometimes drive cars")

              Therefore, D is ~8.5x more than C ?

              Is my maths wrong? Really trying to wrap my head around these statistics

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Efficient Market

                I just don’t know why so many cyclists insist that all vehicles move at their speed, when it would take such a small effort to help people get safely past.

                1. The Onymous Coward

                  Re: Efficient Market

                  I cycle around London at an average of 20mph. Drivers would kill to do even half that as an average. But they do nothing to safely allow me past - they just clog the roads up and pollute the air.

    3. c1ue

      Re: Efficient Market

      A downvote for combining "efficient market" with the IPO of a company that lost $10 billion in the past 3 or 4 years.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Efficient Market

        And lost them in pure operating costs trying to undercut existing services, not developing outstanding new technologies that could repay that soon...

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Efficient Market

          If Uber ever made a profit, how hard would it be for someone with big pockets to shove them out of the market? They have software that is easily replicated, servers that can be rented from Amazon, drivers that will switch if you pay them a bit more, and customers who will switch if you charge them a bit less.

          Apple, Google, Facebook etc can take them out in six months. But most likely there will never be any profit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Efficient Market

            No it isn't that easy, there's a lot to be said for first mover advantage, market penetration and brand awareness. Google+ was arguably a better featured product (ignoring the various privacy concerns) but it was unlikely to usurp facebook due to the above reasons. It would take massive investment also and the bigger Uber grow the harder it will be..

            There is no reason at all why there can't be profit either. Taxi companies make money and rely on operators to take calls, rent offices etc. Once Uber is up and running it is mainly just computing space with big economies of scale. Any major growth is going to stifle profits and they are probably going to be trying to 'take over the world' for sometime yet. However if they were to just concentrate on the markets they currently have and draw a line there (not likely) they could easily make a profit - maybe then they could pay their drivers a bit more!

            1. Cuddles Silver badge

              Re: Efficient Market

              "No it isn't that easy, there's a lot to be said for first mover advantage, market penetration and brand awareness. Google+ was arguably a better featured product (ignoring the various privacy concerns) but it was unlikely to usurp facebook due to the above reasons."

              Those factors can have significantly more or less relevance depending on context. For something like a social network, buy-in is all important - if your friends, photos, etc. are all on one network, a newcomer has some serious work to do to convince anyone to switch to it regardless of the quality of the product. Something like a taxi company (and remember, that's all Uber is) doesn't have anything like that. Some people might prefer a particular local company if they know it well, but Uber can't get that, and away from regular locals they have no buy-in at all - people will just go with whatever happens to be convenient.

              Pretty much the only barrier to competing with Uber is getting people to set up an account. For an unknown newcomer that might be tricky, but for the likes of Google and Amazon an awful lot of people already have one anyway. Do you really believe people would stick to Uber because of brand awareness and loyalty if they had the option of just saying "Siri, call me an iTaxi"?

    4. devTrail

      Re: Efficient Market (for the elites)

      Logically the company should IPO at exactly what the market thinks it is worth and so it should trade at exactly that price.

      Well actually the companies IPO ate the maximum value they think they can suck from the early fools. Price is set by the marketing power and Uber debut was big news in all the media, they had so much publicity that it was obvious they could sell at a very high price.

      And in any case if you look at the valuation of US companies compared with all the other companies judging by things like profit/value or overall turnover/value ratios you will see that the market lost the capacity to set a reasonable price a long time ago. So, what the market thinks a company is worth is worthless.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Doesn't work but it was free

    Like everything dot-coms touch, there is a race to super-scale this into a free and crappy product. Drivers will take you anywhere you want for free, as long as the destination is a sponsor. No more nice cars. No more polite drivers. Farther into the future, no drivers either. Uber and Google are in a race to create the physical version of a search bar, and does anyone think Uber can win?

    I honestly think micro-payment scooters are a better idea. They can be built for cheap and they don't need expensive drivers or AI systems. Give them a cellphone holder and they can navigate you to sponsors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Kevin McMurtrie - Re: Doesn't work but it was free

      Scooters ?! You seem to be living in sunny California. Bring your scooter into Canada, mate, anywhere between December and April and let me know how it goes.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: @Kevin McMurtrie - Doesn't work but it was free

        Most of us here in sunny California look on them as urban blight. Just so's ya know.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Scooters - Urban Blight

          And just how many articles have there been on this very site about 'scooters'?

          Someone is living in fantasy land...

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: @Kevin McMurtrie - Doesn't work but it was free

        >Bring your scooter into Canada, mate,

        Robo-moose ?

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: @Kevin McMurtrie - Doesn't work but it was free

          Forward, Bruce!

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: @Kevin McMurtrie - Doesn't work but it was free

          Robo Moose ... Didn't Red Green invent that?

          1. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: @Kevin McMurtrie - Doesn't work but it was free

            Jake:

            Red Green just added the duct tape. The moose was damaged busting out of the RCMP corral.

    2. Steve Cooper

      Re: Doesn't work but it was free

      Ah e-scooters at least attempt to clean up the gene pool - https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a27372767/electric-scooters-mobility-safety/

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't work but it was free

      I think you'll find that the IPO made a lot of investors a lot of money. Once they've sold they don't need to care about profits or the share price. With any luck the company will crash soon enough and they can buy it cheaply, or bully another company into doing so.

  3. 404 Silver badge

    Just doesn't make sense to me...

    Wasn't the stock market crash in 1929 a result of companies being worth more on paper than actual value? How is it that this is a normal process now?

    I don't get it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because debt is grossly under-priced and money has to go somewhere.

      The artificially very low-to-negative interest rates have side effects all over the place. A big one is a grossly inflated equities market. People need places to park money when they're saving it. Retirement accounts, pension funds, financial cushions that people and corporations are *supposed* to have, etc. This adds up to many trillions of dollars. Normally, a good mix of this would go into CDs on the retail end and high-grade bonds on the institutional scale - they tend to be relatively safe while offering an acceptable return. With debt under-priced, bonds are a much-less attractive investment. The safer bonds offer poor returns, and if you're going to riskier places why not play the equities market?

      Equity overvaluation then becomes a crazy cycle - cheap debt means its easier to fund sketchier startups, companies start making more money trading their own stock than they do in their normal business operations, etc. CEO salaries skyrocket because one of their biggest jobs is to sell their company's stock.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Because debt is grossly under-priced and money has to go somewhere.

        Good summary, also applicable for house prices.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Because debt is grossly under-priced and money has to go somewhere.

          @Joe W: Yes, but that's sort of trivially true, since houses are equity (even though most of us buy them for the purpose of housing rather than wealth management).

      2. Cuddles Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Because debt is grossly under-priced and money has to go somewhere.

        "Normally, a good mix of this would go into CDs on the retail end"

        Yet another problem caused by the collapse of HMV.

      3. Speltier

        Re: Because debt is grossly under-priced and money has to go somewhere.

        Companies tend not to have financial cushions, because corporate raiders will buy the company and bury the depleted husk under debt. Same would happen to people saving for retirement if the hedge fund raiders could figure out how to manage that. For companies, this boosts the concept of stock buy backs with the spare cash-- not only puffs up the CEO bonus by boosting share prices, but also lets the CEO keep milking the bonus train for longer by keeping raiders from causing c-suite unemployment.

        The raider mentality in America reinforces enbiggening companies so that raiders can't touch them. Any smaller company that manages to gain a strong brand or a pile-o-cash(r) will be bought and drained of life (either by a raider, or by the giant company leading the pack). A side effect of this is that, in America at least, you can't successfully break up a big company. That big company will just be replaced by another big company in the same market niche... and if you dream of wiping all the big companies in America out, that just means a company in some other country will take up the role.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Just doesn't make sense to me...

      The dot com crash was the same. Overpriced companies.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just doesn't make sense to me...

      It's been happening since the gold rush. You don't pay what a company is worth you pay what you think others will think, that others will think, the others will think ... it's worth.

      People see the profits made by early investors in Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple etc and think that if they get in quick they will ride out the train to millionaireville.

  4. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    WTF?

    I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

    Currently, they are a high variable/labor cost company, losing billions per year because they have to pay drivers and price below cost to gain market share and a customer base. Once their self-driving vehicles are perfected, there goes the labor cost as the drivers are dumped, but then they have to buy, fuel and maintain all the Johnny-cabs and delivery trucks themselves, which is currently handled by their drivers/serfs. So suddenly they become a capital-intensive high fixed cost business, probably still pricing very aggressively.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      Once their self-driving vehicles are perfected

      Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha<pauseforbreath>hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha<expires>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Not disagreeing with you one bit. Ubers self-drive vehicles are a "hail Mary" product - if it comes off, they win but I can't see it happening.

        Uber just depends on SOMEONE's self drive vehicles coming to market - they have the customers, the market presence in key locations and the market cap to quickly roll out new vehicles.

        Lyft is in a similar position, but I would say they are likely to be complimentary rather than a winner and a loser in the early years.

        Which just leaves self-drive cars... I'd say money invested in Uber/Lyft is safer than bitcoin...

    2. Time Waster

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      Good point on the cost of Johnny-cabs, I’d not considered that major change to the business model. Realistically they’re nothing but a pipe dream / marketing gimmick anyway. Whilst self driving tech is undeniably improving, surely even Uber execs can see there is no way the technical, legal, logistical, ethical and image problems of entirely driverless cars are likely to be solved any time soon. Certainly not soon enough to appease shareholders demanding profits.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Given ubers historically poor behaviour, maybe the aim was to make the founders & board stinking rich from the IPO. I doubt they care if early investors get burned.

      2. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Really, moving from a warehouse with servers and customer support to full blown transport company is in your opinion not a change of business ?

        You should buy Uber shares then and I have slightly used London bridge for sale if you have some spare change left after that.

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Headmaster

          Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          I think you saw an "a" in a sentence where there wasn't one. English is a funny language, innit?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Time Waster - Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Not to mention winter. The first snow storm or ice storm will paralyze all traffic for weeks because someone armed with a shovel and a brush will have to dig out every car individually.

        Then there's changing tires twice a year. And charging cause it seems AI still can't plug/unplug the recharging cable.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          Which brings up an interesting point ... how many of you lot in places that actually have winter and weather are going to trust a driverless car programmed in sunny California, and tested in the desert?

          1. STOP_FORTH

            Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            None people, that's how many.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            What about Donner Pass, which is ALSO in California?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              What about Donner Pass, Chuck? (I assume you mean Donner Summit, on Hwy 80, not the actual pass a couple thousand feet to it's South.) It's not like a single instance of an Interstate Highway pass is representative of winter driving conditions around Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey, now is it?

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                Point is, it's in California, it ain't desert, and it ain't exactly the easiest stretch of road to navigate, especially if you're a big rig or the weather's bad.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                  So you're going to trust an automated car based on that stretch of road existing in California? I quite honestly fail to see your point.

                  As a side note, it's hardly the worst section of road in the US (or California, for that matter); it is actually quite easy to navigate in all weather (except when it is closed); and driving my big rig over it twice per month (at least) has never given me any problems.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            to reply to your question - all of us are going to "trust" a driverless car, because we'll have no other choice. At some point.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              "all of us are going to "trust" a driverless car, because we'll have no other choice."

              Yeah, sure, right. Keep telling yourself that, Sunshine.

              Hint: Any politician that decides to call for banning '65 Mustangs and '69 Cameros and etc. from both private ownership and public roads, is going to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on the rail. And they know it, too. There are far too many folks, of all political, religious, ethnic and etc. stripes who are into classic cars to run that kind of risk with a political career.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                Doesn't mean they'll be driving a '65 Mustang or a '69 Camero as their everyday transport though does it. If self driving cars did become the norm then they would probably choose to drive a selfy during the work commute but drive one of the, ever dwindling number of, classic cars on special trips and the weekend. Bit like taking a horse and cart to a wedding.

                Also it would be unlikely to be politicians who would ban them, if most of the country was driving <caveat>very reliable</caveat> self driving cars then the insurance companies would effectively ban human operated cars.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                  ".... then the insurance companies would effectively ban human operated cars."

                  More likely they'll ban driverless cars because of very high accident rate. Or ban using them in bad weather/winter/dark.

                  As it is now: "Driverless" where the driver is resposible to anything that happens, isn't legally driverless at all even if it looks like that.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                    There was a caveat about "very reliable" you seem to have missed. There are almost zero driverless cars in operation at the moment. Just a few shuttle buses in controlled areas.

                    Even with Level 2 cars at the moment do you believe the accident rate is higher than average? Where are you getting those stats from?

              2. batfink Bronze badge

                Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                Yeah good luck with the insurance though. Politicians won't have to lift a finger.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              " all of us are going to "trust" a driverless car, because we'll have no other choice"

              Won't happen unless you make all other cars illegal, several billions of them, and there will be a very long time before any driverless car is even at the same level as seasoned drivers are.

              1. Speltier

                Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

                Seasoned drivers eventually die off and will be replaced with robo car coddled humans. Expect the seasoned driver pool to shrink over time. Sure there will be talented amateurs around, just like for riding the early autonomous vehicles (horses). Don't expect the population of either of such to increase though, for cars we may have reached Peak Seasoned Driver already.

          4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            "places that actually have winter and weather"

            Also place with narrow lanes, visiting walkers with little sense of self-preservation and visiting cyclists with zero to negative sense of self-preservation, occasional straying sheep and horse riders. The horse riders are the least of the problems, they're usually local, don't try riding several abreast and have a good view over the walls of what's round the next corner.

            1. Alistair Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              @Doc Syntax:

              I notice you don't talk about those sheep riders though.... I suppose I should thank you for that.

          5. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            "trust a driverless car programmed in sunny California"

            It's not just the weather, who's going to trust a car programmed to drive on roads that were laid out probably in the last hundred years?

            On this side of the pond half our road network still follows paths laid down two thousand years ago, and you can bet the Romans weren't thinking about robo-cars when they built roads.

            1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              Makes you wonder, what have the Romans ever done for us?

            2. STOP_FORTH
              Stop

              Re: @Time Waster - I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              Who's going to trust a car programmed to drive on the right hand side of the road?

    3. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      Are you for real ?

      They do not pay drivers, the charge drivers 20% of their earnings for few cents worth of server power. And they lose 4 billions a year doing so.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      They can just use the Tesla technique of getting their fanbois to call everyone who doesn't worship their impossible business model a "hater."

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Trollface

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Careful there, Elon. Apple might sue.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        Well, Tesla has at least been successfully innovating and have a tangible product that is difficult to reproduce very quickly - and on the very positive side, they did spur other manufacturers to get their arses into gear rather than keep on dragging their feet, relying on diesel for their profits.

    5. c1ue

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      If you take an existing Uber - financed on a subprime, no-look auto loan; combine it with a minimum wage (or less) driver - then subsidize 40% on top of that, how will the addition of $30K to $100K in gear equate to a profitable company?

      A recent SF study showed both that ride share is increasing, not decreasing congestion but more importantly is contributing to 15% of the vehicles on the road. My personal estimate of ride share cars on the road in SF is 40K; there are 220K vehicles coming into SF every day for which 15% is 33K vehicles on the road.

      If these are replaced by robocars, it means the ride share company have to buy or lease 30K to 40K vehicles just for SF. 30K to 40K self driving vehicles requires $60K to $130K (or more) capital purchase cost apiece = $1.8B to $4B+ capital spend for just 1 city of under 900K people. The cars still have to be serviced, washed, vomit removed, refueled etc which adds more cost.

      Internet docs show NY Taxis average 3.3 years in age and 70K miles per year - it seems unlikely robocars will have longer service lifetimes.

      Can ride share be profitable? yes - particularly at the luxury levels.

      Can ride share be profitable at the present scale, with or without robocars? Extremely unclear.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        "Internet docs show NY Taxis average 3.3 years in age and 70K miles per year - it seems unlikely robocars will have longer service lifetimes."

        New York is also INFAMOUS for its rationing of the taxi medallions, to the point they're becoming Wall Street-class investments in and of themselves. Now, granted, New York (especially Manhattan) is in a dilemma: over 10 million residents, workers, etc. moving to and fro everyday, often in bad weather, and the trains don't cover the last mile. They have to play a very delicate balance between providing enough last-mile service for busy New Yorkers and not choking to death on their own traffic.

        1. STOP_FORTH
          Go

          Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          NY needs a decent monorail or elevated train system. If Beaulieu, Las Vegas and Delhi can do it surely the Big Apple can?

          1. OssianScotland Bronze badge
            Meh

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            Springfield needs their one first, Shirley? (After North Haverbrook, of course)

            (Closest I can get to a Simpsons icon)

        2. Dwarf Silver badge

          Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          What’s wrong with walking the last mile ?

          Even when it’s raining, coats and umbrella work very effectively.

          1. defiler Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            Yeah, but for dwarves the last mile is usually underground, isn't it?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            "What’s wrong with walking the last mile ?"

            Getting mugged/robbed/killed.

            That's what's wrong with it: You drive from your garage to company garage.

          3. David Pearce

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            Many countries don't have pavements, so you have to walk in the road.

            This may be illegal in your jurisdiction

            1. STOP_FORTH
              Go

              Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              New York does have pavements. Several of the older, East Coast cities do. As does San Francisco for some reason.

          4. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            "Even when it’s raining, coats and umbrella work very effectively."

            Nope. Weather's too chaotic in New York when it's raining. Plenty of times when water goes sideways or even UP, plus crazy winds can easily pull or invert parasols.

      2. Doctor Evil

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        "A recent SF study showed both that ride share is increasing, not decreasing congestion but more importantly is contributing to 15% of the vehicles on the road. "

        Citation, please? (Seriously, I'm interested in this result.)

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          The article on The Register is here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/05/09/uber_and_lyft_rides/

          1. Doctor Evil

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            @defiler - thanks! I somehow missed that one.

      3. defiler Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        One thing you seem to be missing in your figures is that when individuals drive their own cars for Uber, they voluntarily choose what they feel is the smallest slice of the pie they will tolerate. If pickings are too slim, they hang up for the day/night. There will normally be an excess of cars available before this point, and there will typically be a car nearby.

        If Uber are taking all of the profit, and not having to share it with the meatsack in the driver's seat, they can change that threshold. Put fewer cars on the road. So first of all you've saved in capital investment there. Then, because there are fewer cars, the price can be a bit higher, increasing the pool of money. Finally, they're not just taking that 20%. They're grabbing the whole pie and paying off their energy / maintenance before keeping the rest.

        I'm not saying that you're wrong. I simply don't know. All I'm saying is that these factors will sway the result quite hard.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

          defiler,

          You can't charge monopoly prices in a market sector with low (no?) barriers to entry.

          Even if Uber have self-driving cars and nobody else does, if they put their prices up higher than local taxi firms charge, then the business will go to the local taxi firms again.

          This is Uber's problem. Currently they have the brand recognition (people in London talk about getting an Uber), and you don't need to know the local taxi firm's number, because you just use the Uber app - but the other reason that worked, and that peole didn't just look up that local number was that Uber were also cheap. But they can only do that by subsidising every sale with a bit of their VC's money. Hence the massive annual losses.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

            But I'm not talking about monopoly pricing, you raise the price to what the market will bear. They can significantly reduce their fleet and make more per vehicle.

            I'm not saying it'll change the world, but it may make enough of a difference.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

              But what about surge capacity, such as for cities with major sports venues? Surge capacity has always been a major infrastructure problem that also has no easy solution: a lot of space-consuming infrastructure (vehicles take up space somewhere 24/7) that isn't used often but when needed is NEEDED.

    6. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      "Once their self-driving vehicles are perfected, there goes the labor cost as the drivers are dumped, but then they have to buy, fuel and maintain all the Johnny-cabs and delivery trucks themselves, which is currently handled by their drivers/serfs. So suddenly they become a capital-intensive high fixed cost business, probably still pricing very aggressively."

      I'm not completely sure that that's the final plan. Basically, as we have seen elsewhere, Uber uses the "drivers are independent workers" argument to try to shield themselves from any liabilities of being a taxi company. Why would they want to take on the liabilities of owning and operating a fleet of robocars?

      I'm wondering whether the plan isn't to lease/sell the cars and license the routing service. They get the lease/sale money up front and a percentage of the delivery fees charged for the routing service, while the owner/lessee gets the bulk of the delivery fees in exchange for, essentially, opening the gate to let them out in the morning and plugging them in at night. The o/o is liable for damages, etc., because they're the owner of record. And, in this sort of a scenario, the most likely owner/operators are taxi/delivery companies who've laid off their fleshy drivers in favor of the new system. They're used to running fleets of vehicles and taking the bulk of the profits, so this just shifts who's getting the smaller cut from a bunch of drivers to one company.

      Uber maintains their "we're not responsible for anything; we just want the money," business model, the currently existing taxi/delivery companies keep THEIR business model, and the only ones getting screwed are the drivers (and customers).

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

      "Once their self-driving vehicles are perfected, there goes the labor cost as the drivers are dumped, but then they have to buy, fuel and maintain all the Johnny-cabs and delivery trucks themselves"

      "Once their self-driving vehicles are perfected"

      Won't happen, ever. Even ordinary cars are much *worse* than in 1960s because there's more profit when you sell shiny shit to people.

      Also: Labor cost is thoroughly irrelevant when automated cars cost millions per piece. And you can bet only the manufacturer has tools to repair it once it breaks. It's a car: It will break.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure I see how they get to profitability

        "Also: Labor cost is thoroughly irrelevant when automated cars cost millions per piece. And you can bet only the manufacturer has tools to repair it once it breaks. It's a car: It will break."

        Fleet sales means economies of scale: price per car goes down, and the terms of the agreement can force manufacturers to hand over the tools to the fleet buyer for fear of them going to another manufacturer.

  5. SirWired 1

    It was a resounding success... For Uber, not their investors.

    An IPO raises captial for a company that does not have to be paid back. Ever. Convincing a group of investors to pay more than what the market shortly thereafter says it's worth is a triumph! An IPO that leaps up in value means the company didn't get nearly as much cash as they should have for that share of the business.

    1. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: It was a resounding success... For Uber, not their investors.

      Sigh... IPO for startup is an exit strategy, moment when initial investors able to cash out.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

    ... oh, hell, why do I even try to bother.

    Try to find a copy of the 1841 book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

      https://cmi-gold-silver.com/pdf/mackaych2451824518-8.pdf

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

        Bookmarked. Ta.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

        Also at Project Gutenberg. I should have known :-)

        https://www.gutenberg.org/files/24518/24518-h/24518-h.htm

    2. Snake
      FAIL

      Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

      "why do I bother?"

      It's more: Why do we ALL bother?? From nationalism to economic bubbles to xenophobia to climate polluting, today's world has (re)embraced beliefs that have previously ended in nothing but disaster and sorrow. I've just about given up on believing that the current generation of humans in power have any form of both intelligence or logic, for they have constantly failed to show much in real, everyday choices.

    3. General Purpose

      Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

      For more modern views of "tulip mania" see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania#Modern_views . Mackay, writing in 1841 about events in 1637, made a good start but more has come to light since then - hardly surprisingly.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

      Schools don't need to put more effort into STEM subjects, they need to put it into teaching history.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Holland, Tulips, early/mid 1600s ...

        How do you teach people who don't WANT to learn?

  7. Dabbb Bronze badge

    Uber's business model

    Australia does not have Lyft but it has Indian startup Ola and every single Uber driver also drives for Ola.

    Because Ola charges drivers 17% and Uber 25% drivers pick Ola orders before Uber anytime except when Uber has surge pricing.

    That's how easy it is to undercut Uber if you want take over the market, you just need be prepared to lose more money than Uber does.

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    PT Barnum

    Didn't PT Barnum say something about a suckers being born every minute? Uber, Lyft, and the other 'darlings' of the idiot press (not the competent press) are bad bets as they are not profitable nor look to every be consistently profitable. Sooner or later they will burn through the cash with a rather messing crash and burn. It is as if the IPO was the only way to payoff the vultures who had invested in Uber before they go belly up.

    Uber's primary 'advantage' is their app, something that can be duplicated by a conventional taxi company. The only other 'advantage' they have is they operate in more locations. But this is only important to some road warriors not to locals or most travelers. So they really do not offer a major advantage to over a conventional taxi when you step back and look at them.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: PT Barnum

      Apparently he didn't say that. Turns out that it was said about him, by David Hannum in reference to Barnum's part in the Cardiff Giant hoax. Or so the story goes. My gut feeling is that the very same phrase was in widespread use before humans invented writing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @a_yank_lurker - Re: PT Barnum

      Actually suckers are an extremely valuable, renewable economic resource. Like solar and wind for example and it costs almost nothing to mine.

    3. NATTtrash
      Mushroom

      Re: PT Barnum

      Uber's primary 'advantage' is their app...

      Yeah, maybe that's what people want to believe when they think Uber. But by now many taxi companies have an app, and, let's be honest, that's the marketing cool-aid Uber wants everybody to believe. Sure, their app was new. But what (they figured should) really bring(s) the profits is... the fact that they found a biz model that cuts cost. To the max. And since somebody, anywhere always pays (NOTHING is for free), they made a science of letting somebody else pay their bill. Just like other alternatives elsewhere (think about the changes in postal services, construction workers, logistics/ trucks, and so on), if you can cut pesky obligations, like employment contracts, social security obligations, local labour law stipulations, or even other cost (just ask a cabby what a license costs), it means money in the bank. For Uber. Not their "personnel" of course. And, as always, customers don't give a toss who pays the bills, as long as it's not them. That's how much humans care about anything if it involves themselves. And yes, Ubers genius was to "have an app for that" so they can line everybody up efficiently to be picked up by an "independent entrepreneur". Oh, and this of course without risk for, or guarantees by Uber. Smelly car? Detour to inflate price? Got raped? "Oh, sorry, we're just providing a service..."

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: PT Barnum

        Add in "sharing" so get round inconvenient regulation.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: PT Barnum

      I'm not sure about that. From a user perspective, there are probably many advantages to the app method of getting a car. You don't have to try to catch one in transit. You don't have to call in and prearrange something. If taxi places started using apps, you'd still have to a) know which taxi locations are available and b) have installed their app when you are going to the place. And this does at least produce a larger supply of available transports. So there do seem to be real benefits to the users of these applications.

      Of course, there are many major downsides as well, both to the increased number of people driving about and the companies administrating the application. I'm not saying they're perfect, or even good. I can't say I use their services very frequently, either. But I don't think it's child's play for a taxi company to duplicate their benefits.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: PT Barnum

        Looking at the London market for example, there are loads of other taxi apps, and Über weren’t the first, nor are they necessarily the cheapest. Other apps give you a fixed price quote or a range of fixed price quotes you can select from, so you know exactly what you are going to pay.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PT Barnum

        The local, family-run cab firm in my small town has an app now. You can order a cab and track it all the way to your door, with the driver's name, license plate and mobile number all displayed in the app. I gather this is the same everywhere. So what advantage or barrier to entry does Uber's app offer? The only one I can think of is that the same app will work in an unfamiliar location. But what percentage of total journeys is that? I will bet that the vast majority of cab journeys are within a single town, by people who live in that town.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: PT Barnum

          "The only one I can think of is that the same app will work in an unfamiliar location. But what percentage of total journeys is that?"

          What about tourists? They'd be unfamiliar with a place, wouldn't you think? AND wouldn't necessarily know which app to use.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PT Barnum

      "Uber's primary 'advantage' is their app, something that can be duplicated by a conventional taxi company. "

      Has already happened here in North: Every tax company in the country have their own app, showing where the nearest taxi is and you can call it with a tap on the screen: Can't get easier than that.

      Only problem is that *every* tax company (5 of them in this town or near by) has their own app and pricing varies wildly, no way to know what it will cost from here to there, even if you've done that trip before with a taxi owned by another company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PT Barnum

        So create an app for the apps out there... if you go to a strange place, how do you know what taxi app to use? You don't, you might find one one search, might not. Thus Uber; one wonders what the analysis is at Uber for passing off to these ma and pa apps in small towns that don't have much Uber presence (a small cut of the pie is better than no cut of the pie...).

  9. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Alert

    Who bought this shiny new IPO?

    No, not me either.

    But I've a nasty suspicion I might have a stake in it, by virtue of having some portion of my assets in various managed funds. I suspect most of us here are in the same position. Or at least those of us who have reached the time of life where we have financial assets such as a pension or ISA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who bought this shiny new IPO?

      I have divested from all US stocks because I'm so worried about a collapse. I manage my own funds.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Who bought this shiny new IPO?

        I suspect if US stocks collapse, NOWHERE will be safe. The 2008 shock had global repercussions, too.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who bought this shiny new IPO?

        The US market is going to collapse, obviously. It is vastly over valued. But then so is that of the rest of the planet. I don't know which major market is going to cave first, but there will be a domino effect. The rest will follow. It's inevitable.

        The only question remaining (in my mind, anyway) is how long it'll take to recover. Twelve months to four years is my guess. Shorter if getting crops to market are OK, longer if producing and shipping food becomes more of an issue.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they should rename themselves to 'Unter' ?

    in the light of their share price performance.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps they should rename themselves to 'Unter' ?

      Well, Unter is still a Trumpf-card in Schafskopf and valued in principle...

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Thumb Down

        Re: Perhaps they should rename themselves to 'Unter' ?

        Thankyou very much. I spent about half an hour on Wikipedia reading about German card games I am never going to play! Unlike the usual unreadable, clunky prose of other articles on Wiki, these appear to have been machine-translated from the original German. My head still hurts from reading them.

  11. David Pearce

    Uber have already lost out to local boys Grab in Malaysia and Singapore.

    This is a business with low barriers to entry if Grab actually want to charge high enough fares to make a profit.

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge

      Which will leave Uber with the lower value areas.

  12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    So it's now "worth" about 90% of the initial crazy valuation?

    I would be more impressed if it tumbled to 5% of the crazy valuation.

    Those graphs are typical of silly sensational journalism.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      I would be more impressed if it tumbled to 5% of the crazy valuation.

      Give it time, I reckon Monday will see a nice ski-slope developing.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Happy

        If you ski down cliff edges

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Now Uber is going to face the harsh reality of Wall Street

    Up to now, upbeat press releases and damage control have maintained the illusion that Uber is a successful company.

    Today, however, Uber will be judged by that indisputable measure that is the share price, and no amount of bluster or PR control is going to cover up a falling share price. I believe that Uber is going to find out what it is really worth to the market, and the final say will not be pleasing.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Now Uber is going to face the harsh reality of Wall Street

      Plus they have to file accurate 10-K reports and provide properly audited books for inspection. Failure to do so will get in legal trouble with the seriousness depending on the details.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now Uber is going to face the harsh reality of Wall Street

        But the original investors are going to be out and they don't care, do they?

        1. Anomalous Cowshed

          Re: Now Uber is going to face the harsh reality of Wall Street

          The very point of companies like uber and amazon is to use extensive capital to ransack an economic sector by pricing services below cost, in order to pump up the shares and, having redistributed wealth from the ransacked sector to the initial investors, to enrich them at everyone else's expense. It is pure greed and legal robbery.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the harsh reality of Wall Street

        "they have to file accurate 10-K reports and provide properly audited books for inspection."

        Did that apply to (e.g.) HP too?

        It doesn't generally apply to global corporates like Uber though does it, presumably because they're "disruptive" [edit: I can't see why it doesn't really apply, can you?]

        It didn't really seem to apply to e.g. the global corporate coffee bar franchisers, who were happily telling the USA that the UK was a profitable market for them, while simultaneously telling the authorities in the UK and EU that they weren't making any money in the UK and EU, and therefore shouldn't be paying any tax in the UK and EU.

        Muppets rule. And meerkats.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: the harsh reality of Wall Street

          Their Swiss division was making loads of money from trademark licensing fees and margin on sale of coffee beans, leaving no money from the actual trading entities in other European countries.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          Re: the harsh reality of Wall Street

          If you think of the outfit with a green logo I tend to avoid them as the coffee is more expensive and not of the same quality as at Portuguese cafes. Have to give them that seating is better, though.

  14. Nursing A Semi
    Facepalm

    Uber should be applauded for bringing the stupididy and drive towards self destruction of the human race into such sharp focus.

    People buy their shares knowing they are probably over priced, in fear that if they are the only ones who don't buy and by some miracle they do go up in value, they will look stupid / lose their jobs.

    Their current business model relys on semi self imployed drivers earning them money which they plow into research into making semi self employed drivers redundent.

    Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "semi self imployed drivers"

      Imployee: n; An Implied, but not actual, employee.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, TL;DR, but Uber is basically adding no value to it's "services" ?

    I have no issue with extra layers between me and a supplier (because that's all Uber is). But unless they are demonstrably adding value with it, what's the point ?

    Any "value" Uber add is going to be offset (and maybe cancelled out) by the liability it will be (eventually) forced to accept and have to incorporate into it's "business model".

  16. Filippo

    Stock markets

    "everyone was hoping that everyone else would be stupid enough to imagine that everyone else was stupid enough to buy stock"

    I think someday, someone will figure out a better way to allocate resources, and a century or so after that, people will look back at us like we look at the feudal system.

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Joke

      Re: Stock markets

      Fondly?

  17. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    In other words, initial guess was about 8% off

    I don't like them either, so it would have been better if the IPO had settled on $1.07.

    An 8% drop upon IPO isn't all that significant.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Both Uber & Lyft's numbers look like BS to me.

    Not touching with barge pole.

    Might be worth seeing how much they can be shorted by?

    Sell, sell, sell.

  19. devTrail

    Not really correct

    The article gives the feeling that nobody fell for the scam. Yes, Uber value dropped quickly, but it was on the market because a lot of people influenced by the drumming publicity in the media and the bank salesmen bought the share from the IPO itself.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pump and Dump

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-195229/

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The "Silicon Valley Model" in effect

    1) Find some industry that has some room for improvement (in some way)

    2) Persuade a bunch of VC investors to sink shed loads of cash in your plan while you corner the market (then you can dictate the prices yourself)

    3) Do the bits that can easily be improved (phone app to access drivers, dodgy business practices to shift liability from Uber)

    3) Pray to f**k that [i]someone[/i] can invent the rest of what you need (acceptable driverless cars in Ubers case) to make the rest of your cunning plan work.

    Obvious flaws

    1) What if there is no monopoly position because the market is (and wants to remain) fragmented?

    2) The magic tech needed to complete your plan is impossible or does not arrive promptly?

    Obvious answer. Tell the VC's "Que será, será. Shrug shoulders and say better luck next time boys" as you walk out the door with just your rather nice (protected) final paycheck.

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