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Uber: when technology threatens tradition

Uber is seen by traditional cab companies as a cab killer because of their technologies, so the Cab Commission is going after the company. The fight is on.

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How do you Get around these days

Uber sexy, Uber fast, Uber trendy, Uber safe, Uber… the list goes on. What doesn’t make the list is uber detrimental to the rest of the cabbies and car services out there who are behind the times in the ways of technology. This morning, I had purely planned on having a break out of some of the trends in commuting and what it means for urban realtors and their craft if they do or do not have a car. Do they Metro? Do they hoof it? Do they use a cab everywhere? Zip car? Carey Car? The lux-brand Uber?

Well, this quickly turned to me hanging out on the Uber site and reading their blogs and loving their sass; so I went into another direction you see… Then, that rolled into me checking out the DC based Uber site, since that is my current home base.

Get with the Program

After identifying the system that these cool cats have put together into a global market high-end car service at Uber, I of course wanted to read the latest articles posted as pros and cons about the business and stumbled upon some rather interesting information. DC’s taxi-cab commission was going after Uber back in January of this year as being non-compliant with their rules and regulations for being – uhm- for lack of a better word descriptor, better. Seriously.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”The issue the the Cab Commission has pointed at the new brand seems to be that “this isn’t fair.” Why does Uber have this fantastic technology that none of the other cab companies are utilizing to their advantage?”[/ba-pullquote]When I read and re-read the issue at hand, it looks like because the owners of the company have devised a system that is rooted in cloud based technology that incorporates android and iphones and their ability to map and mark exactly where the client is requesting pick up service. The client has also already pre-paid for the service via their credit card on file and will be picked up in a luxury vehicle for up to 4 people. 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. This is a lovely system that when functioning all-systems-go… sounds heaps and bounds better than most cab services and some other luxury car carriers.

The Uber blog and main site is very transparent. They don’t hide that their prices may be higher than taking a cab. They give helpful hints as to how to use the program. They give coupon codes and plot out maps of the cities where their provide phenomenal service. Allowing for questions and commentary and answering back to those who pose prying questions. Probing seems to be invited and not shucked away. This team does not seem to hide behind a facade, they take matters on head on.

The issue at Hand

The issue the the Cab Commission has pointed at the new brand seems to be that “this isn’t fair.” Why does Uber have this fantastic technology that none of the other cab companies are utilizing to their advantage? Hmmm… Raise your hand if you don’t see this as unfair. Maybe smarter? More advanced? Worthy of a slight price differential and the name Uber?

No one wants their start up to have this many issues with the governing body when they first land in a new city, but Uber is still out and making thousands of luxury seeking clients happy in the DC metro area and around the globe even. If the founder, Travis Kalanick, who started the company in 2009 back in San Fransisco has much to say about it, Uber will keep on truckin’ in DC with the better technology that they have created as a system to streamline their business of satisfying their clients.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. athanrebelos

    June 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Genevieve is the perfect Über demographic. Young, uninformed and naive. A more seasoned writer would ask some obvious questions about the history of taxicabs and the purposes of regulation. They would also know that Über’s technology isn’t new it’s they’re flagrant violation of laws around the country that’s new. The marketing of several year old, independently owned Town Cars to pick you up for the same cost as a corporate service is new. Goldman Sachs should be taken to task by their investors for their participation with Über. What if GE or WalMart were building stores without permits and unfairly competing with local business? Would that still be cool? Try Taxi Magic or Cabulous. Get taxis at taxi prices with adequate insurance coverage and service to the poor, seniors, disabled all at one regulated fare. Where’s Über’s wheelchair accessible fleet? Where’s Über’s service to the community? It’s funny how they don’t have to pick up just anyone but taxis do…

  2. Alisa Hagner

    June 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Give good service or get lost

  3. Stephanie L Davis

    June 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Disruption – for the most part is good.

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Business News

Asking the wrong questions can ruin your job opportunity

(BUSINESS NEWS) An HR expert discusses the best (and worst) questions she’s experienced during candidate interviews. it’s best to learn from others mistakes.

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interview candidates answers

When talking to hiring managers outside of an interview setting, I always find myself asking about their horror stories as they’re usually good for a laugh (and a crash course in what not to do in an interview). A good friend of mine has worked in HR for the last decade and has sat in on her fair share of interviews, so naturally I asked her what some of her most notable experiences were with candidates – the good and the bad, in her own words…

“Let’s see, I think the worst questions I’ve ever had are typically related to benefits or vacation as it demonstrates that their priorities are not focused on the actual job they will be performing. I’ve had candidates ask how much vacation time they’ll receive during an initial phone screen (as their only question!). I’ve also had them ask about benefits and make comparisons to me over the phone about how our benefits compare to their current employer.

I once had a candidate ask me about the age demographics of our office, which was very uncomfortable and inappropriate! They were trying to determine if the attorneys at our law firm were older than the ones they were currently supporting. It was quite strange!

I also once had a candidate ask me about the work environment, which was fine, but they then launched into a story about how they are in a terrible environment and are planning on suing their company. While I understand that candidates may have faced challenges in their previous roles or worked for companies that had toxic working environments, it is important that you do not disparage them.

In all honesty, the worst is when they do not have any questions at all. In my opinion, it shows that they are not really invested in the position or have not put enough thought into their decision to change jobs. Moving to a new company is not a decision that should be made lightly and it’s important for me as an employer to make sure I am hiring employees who are genuinely interesting in the work they will be doing.

The best questions that I’ve been asked typically demonstrate that they’re interested in the position and have a strong understanding of the work they would be doing if they were hired. My personal favorite question that I’ve been asked is if there are any hesitations or concerns that I may have based on the information they’ve provided that they can address on the spot. To me, this demonstrates that they care about the impression that they’ve made. I’ve asked this question in interviews and been able to clarify information that I did not properly explain when answering a question. It was really important to me that I was able to correct the misinformation as it may have stopped me from moving forward in the process!

Also, questions that demonstrate their knowledge base about the role in which they’re applying for is always a good sign. I particularly like when candidates reference items that I’ve touched on and weave them into a question.

A few other good questions:
• Asking about what it takes to succeed in the position
• Asking about what areas or issues may need to be addressed when first joining the company
• Asking about challenges that may be faced if you were to be hired
• Asking the employer what they enjoy most about the company
• I am also self-centered, so I always like when candidates ask about my background and how my current company compares to previous employers that I’ve worked for. Bonus points if they’ve actually looked me up on LinkedIn and reference specifics :)”

Think about the best and worst experiences you’ve had during an interview – and talk to others about the same topic – and see how that can help you with future interviews.

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Business News

AdvoCare MLM was painted as a pyramid scheme! Well color me surprised

(BUSINESS NEWS) AdvoCare is the most recent case of an MLM being called out as a pyramid scheme by FTC, but there’s plenty more MLMs where that came from…

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AdvoCare business structure

It’s always a good day when an MLM (multi-level marketing business) actually suffers legal repercussions. Granted, these days don’t happen nearly as often as we’d like – MLM CEOs have historically had deep pockets and a far reach – which means it’s all the more reason to celebrate when one gets called out.

Today’s culprit is AdvoCare, a Texas-based “wellness” company. AdvoCare has been fined $150 million by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for operating a pyramid scheme. The company, as well as a few of its top influencers, have been misleading people when it comes to how much money they could earn. This is pretty typical behavior for MLMs in general, though many are careful to couch your potential earnings in vague terms.

For the record, the majority of users lost money, and most who managed to turn a profit made a maximum of just $250. I say ‘just’ because it’s hard to know how long someone would have had to work to not only break even, but manage to turn a profit. MLMs make big claims about earning money, but when you have to pour a hefty sum of cash into the products, it can take a while just to break even.

That’s why many MLMs, including AdvoCare, push contributors to recruit, rather than sell the product. And if you’re thinking that sounds like a pyramid scheme, you’re totally right. This method of putting recruiting first is part of the reason AdvoCare has gotten in trouble with the FTC.

In response, AdvoCare is moving away from multi-level marketing sales and pivoting to selling products directly to retail stores, which in turn sell to customers.

Now, with AdvoCare’s downfall, don’t be surprised if other MLMs insist that they’re different because they haven’t gotten in trouble with the FTC. In fact, plenty of MLMs are quick to tell you that they’re totally legal and totally not a pyramid scheme. Sure, Jan.

First of all, if there’s a big focus on recruiting, that’s obviously a big red flag. There are plenty of pyramid scheme MLMs out there that just haven’t gotten caught yet. But there are other sneaky ways an MLM will try to rip you off. For instance, some companies will insist you buy tons of product to keep your place, and that product can be very hard to unload. Not to mention, many of the products MLMs tout are subpar at best.

AdvoCare getting called out by the FTC is a great start, but MLMs seem kind of like hydras. Cut down one and two more seem to spring up in its place. So be vigilant, y’all. Just because an MLM hasn’t gotten caught yet doesn’t guarantee it won’t still scam you out of your hard earned cash.

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Bose is closing their retail stores, but we haven’t heard the last of them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Over the last 30 years Bose has become so well understood by consumers that they don’t even need retail stores anymore. We hear them just fine.

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bose closing retail stores

Over the next few months, Bose plans to close all of their retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The company made the announcement last week. With 119 stores closing, presumably hundreds of Bose employees will be laid off, but the company has not revealed exact numbers.

However, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the maker of audio equipment is struggling to stay afloat. Rather, the move marks a major change in how consumers purchase tech gear.

When the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company opened its first U.S. retail store in 1993, it was making home entertainment systems for watching DVDs and listening to CDs. According to Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of global sales, these first brick-and-mortar locations “gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us” about Bose products. “At the time, it was a radical idea,” she says, “but we focused on what our customers needed and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

When a lot of this equipment was new, consumers may have had more questions and a need to see the products in action before purchasing. Nowadays, we all know what noise-canceling headphones are; we all know what a Bluetooth speaker is. We’re happy to read about the details online before adding products to our virtual shopping cart. The ability for Bose to close its retail stores is probably also an indicator that Bose has earned strong brand recognition and a reputation as a reliable maker of audio equipment.

In other words, consumers are less and less inclined to need to check out equipment in person before they buy it. For those who do, Bose products can still be purchased at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Apple. But overall, Bose can’t ignore the fact that their products “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce,” such as on Amazon or directly from their website.

In a statement, Bose also said that it has become a “larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for the country or region.” While Bose is shutting down its retail stores in several continents, it will continue to operate stores in China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Burke said the decision to close so many retail stores was “difficult” because it “impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day.” Bose is offering “outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off.”

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