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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

Removing remote work options creates a new caste system

(BUSINESS) Remote work has created a democratization of sorts in the workforce, and companies desperate to nix the options could take a hit.

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remote work

Many companies are mandating a return to the office after over a year of allowing employees to work remotely, and, according to a recent study, over half of workers surveyed say they won’t stand for it. As remote work becomes more normalized for all levels of employment, it is crucial that employers retain the option for employees to work in this capacity wherever possible – even if it means employing nontraditional methods.

Harvard Business Review references something called “the democratizing effect of remote work” – the great equalizing that took place during stay-at-home orders nationwide.

In short, this philosophy entails workers having their needs met while continuing to fulfill their contracts of employment. Theoretically, this is a win-win situation.

But employers have their own predilections toward in-house operations, with remote flexibility often being reserved for the highest-ranking officials while “lower” employees are expected to commute. It’s a business model with which we’re exceptionally familiar; why change?

The answer to that question may be employee-driven, as many employees cite a preference for hybrid or remote work environments post-pandemic. “Employees are leaving workplaces that don’t suit their needs anymore,” cites HBR.

Many of those needs are emotional, too. Non-white employees and female employees face a higher level of discrimination in the workplace than their white and/or male counterparts; Black employees, in particular, reported stressful work conditions, with HBR citing that only three percent of Black employees demonstrated an interest in returning to an in-office environment (as opposed to 21 percent of white employees).

Allowing stressed and oppressed employees to work from home can improve their mental health, stress levels, and even their “feelings of belonging at their organization” in the case of Black employees.

Outside of race and gender, the publication also stresses the negative effects that mandating a return after allowing for remote work will have: “Creating a new caste system where elites have anywhere jobs and non-elites are shackled to the office full time is a recipe for high attrition among employees who often have a lot of firm-specific knowledge that is valuable to their employers.”

The less-subtle breakdown is this: If companies that are capable of offering remote work want to retain employees, they need to offer some remote options.

We saw the effects of employees in frontline occupations refusing to show up to work because of poor wages and working conditions earlier this year. It isn’t outside of the realm of feasibility to expect the next major workforce shortage to impact corporations as well.

If the solution is as simple as letting employees work from home a few days per week or permanently (especially if their productivity doesn’t suffer), that’s a pretty small price to pay for continued prosperity.

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Business News

The case for nixing your company happy hour forever

(BUSINESS) Happy hour is designed to bond teams and offer a perk, but the design is outdated to benefit few workers – let’s just get rid of the practice.

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happy hour person drinking

The world of work has forever changed from the pandemic. Melinda Gates hopes that COVID-19 makes society get serious about gender equality. Some people are wondering how many people really want to return to the office at all. There are questions about providing customer service, not to reduce costs to the business, but because shoppers don’t want help in the store.

Let’s tackle another tradition in the office – the happy hour. Wondering if employees really want happy hours? Do they even help?

Why do we even have happy hour?

Happy hour is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century and the United States Navy. It was originally a weekly entertainment created to alleviate boredom on the U.S.S. Arkansas when sailors were at sea. The practice became popular in the Navy, but over time, the emphasis changed from entertainment to drinking. As drinking became less stigmatized after prohibition, employees began drinking at work and after work. Although happy hours declined in the 1970s and beyond, there was a resurgence in the 2000s.

Why do offices hold happy hour?

Hosting a happy hour is thought to help a team develop positive relationships and encourage employee engagement and productivity. Drink o’clock can be a time of celebration to help employees feel good about the work they’re doing.

Employees can interact with each other outside of the stress of work. It sounds pretty innocent, just getting together at the end of the workday at a local pub or bar, but it comes with a lot of issues.

Is it time to nix the work happy hour?

Happy hour can come with a lot of pressure for employees. Some people believe they have to attend in order to keep moving up in the job, because skipping out can be seen as not being a team player, and many who don’t show up to the “optional” happy hours are also the ones who didn’t get to schmooze with the bosses and thereby are not the ones who get promotions.

This disproportionately hurts women, who typically still have the majority of caregiving tasks in the family and can’t stay out drinking on weeknights.

Transportation issues or flexible schedules don’t lend themselves well to the traditional happy hour after work. And don’t forget the drinking atmosphere doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are many religious, cultural, and personal reasons for people to avoid alcohol, bars, and happy hour functions.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of liability issues for employers. Can your business risk an accident by an employee who went to happy hour and was a little buzzed when they left?

While we’re rethinking workplace traditions in the post-pandemic era, let’s think about how to get employees engaged. Maybe this outdated practice isn’t the best way to build your team anymore.

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Business News

You absolutely don’t need to be a 100% match for a job to apply

(CAREER) Most people believe they should only apply for their dream job if they’re a perfect match, but studies say that’s the wrong approach.

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apply for a job even if not 100% a match

You don’t need to be a 100 percent match for a job to apply. You just don’t.

We’ve all seen the crazy job postings:

-Must be fluent in Mandarin
-Must be be full-stack coder
-Must also have real estate license
-Must be a rockstar ninja (uuugh)

After seeing endless open positions with specific requirements, it’s no wonder that so many job seekers become discouraged. How can anyone fit 100 percent of the requirements on the job listing? And actually, most people don’t. According to a recent study, you only need to meet ~70 percent of the job requirements to be a good fit for a job.

So you’re telling me a requirement isn’t actually a requirement?!

The study analyzed job postings and resumes for over 6,000 positions across 118 industries, and they found that applicants are just as likely to get an interview whether you meet 50 percent or 90 percent of the requirements.

Crazy, I know. That law of diminishing returns will eff you up.

But what about women? I wondered the same thing. Surprisingly, the interview data was in favor of women that meet less of the requirements. In fact, the study shows that as a female, the likelihood of getting an interview increases if you simply meet 30 percent of the requirements. Also, female applicants are just as likely to get an interview if they meet 40 percent versus 90 percent of the job requirements.

Before you start complaining that women have it better in the job search process, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Interestingly enough, 64 percent of the female users rejected at least one job where they matched 50 – 60 percent of the requirements, while only 37 percent of male users did. This leads us to believe there more implicit factors to take into consideration, like imposter syndrome throughout the interview process.

If you’re a recruiter or employer, this may seem like more work. But in an increasingly competitive job market for both employers and applicants, this presents an opportunity to get to know people for who they actually are, not just on paper. And resumes often do a poor job of reflecting that — especially the ever-important soft skills.

Key takeaways:

As we’ve gone through this study, here are a few practical action items for job seekers:

1. Apply for a lot of jobs to increase your number of interviews.

The study shows that increased interviews are a direct result of increased applications, not just picking and choosing what you think you’re a good fit for. Which brings us to our next point:

2. Go for those “stretch” roles — you never know what may come of it!

Send in a lot of applications, but don’t let that stop you from approaching the process thoughtfully. Recruiters can tell if you’ve skimped on the cover letter or your resume, and a thoughtful approach to the application process will be noticed and appreciated by recruiters, especially for those reach roles.

3. Don’t second-guess yourself.

We’re always our own worst critics, and according to this, we don’t need to be — especially throughout the job application process. Job hunting is stressful enough, so put on your most upbeat playlist (or Beyonce), say your affirmations, and go on with your bad self and start applying!

This story was first published here in December 2018.

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