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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

Leadership versus management: What’s the difference?

(Business News) The two terms, leadership and management, are often used interchangeably, but there are substantial differences; let’s explore them.

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leadership Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Some people use the terms “leader” and “manager” interchangeably, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there is still a debate regarding their similarities or differences.

Is it merely a matter of preference, or are there cut and dry differences that define each term?

Ronald E. Riggio, professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College, described what he felt to be the difference between the terms, noting the commonality in the distinction of “leadership” versus “management” was that leaders tend to engage in the “higher” functions of running an organization, while managers handle the more mundane tasks.

However, Riggio believes it is only a matter of semantics because successful and effective leaders and managers must do the same things. They must set the standard for followers and the organization, be willing to motivate and encourage, develop good working relationships with followers, be a positive role model, and motivate their team to achieve goals.

He states that there is a history explaining the difference between the two terms: business schools and “management” departments adopted the term “manager” because the prevailing view was that managers were in charge.

They were still seen as “professional workers with critical roles and responsibilities to help the organization succeed, but leadership was mostly not in the everyday vocabulary of management scholars.”

Leadership on the other hand, derived from organizational psychologists and sociologists who were interested in the various roles across all types of groups.

So, “leader” became the term to define someone who played a key role in “group decision making and setting direction and tone for the group. For psychologists, manager was a profession, not a key role in a group.”

When their research began to merge with business school settings, they brought the term “leadership” with them, but the terms continued to be used to mean different things.

The short answer, according to Riggio is no, not really; simply because leaders and managers need the same skills to be productive and respected.

This editorial was first published here in June of 2014.

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Business News

Does Raising Cane’s have the secret to combatting restaurant labor shortages?

(NEWS) Fried Chicken Franchise, Raising Cane’s, has turned to an unusual source of front-line employees during the labor shortage- Their executives!

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White paper sign with black text reading "Help Wanted."

I wouldn’t call myself a fried chicken aficionado or anything, but since chains are designed to blow up everywhere, I have experienced Raising Cane’s.

I’m pretty sure the Cane’s sauce is just barbecue mixed with ranch, but hey, when you’ve got a good idea, keep with it.

In the further pursuit of good ideas, the company has resorted to an intriguing method of boosting staff in a world where the lowest paid among us are still steadily dying of Covid, and/or choosing to peace out of jobs that they don’t find worth the infection risk.

Via Nation Restaurant News: “This is obviously a very tough time, so it was a joint idea of everybody volunteering together to go out there and be recruiters, fry cooks and cashiers —whatever it takes,” said AJ Kumaran, co-CEO and chief operating officer for the Baton Rouge, La.-based quick-service company, from a restaurant in Las Vegas, where he had deployed himself.”

The goal of this volunteer mission, which involves 250 of the 500 executives deployed working directly in service roles, is to bolster locations until 10,000 new hires can be made in both existing locations and locations planned to open.

It’s obvious that this is a bandaid move – execs exist for good reason, and in terms of sheer numbers (not to mention location and salary changes), this is hardly tenable long-term. But I can say this as someone who’s gone from retail to office, and back (and then forth…and then back again) several times – if this doesn’t keep everyone at the corporate level humble, and much more mindful of employees’ needs, nothing will.

The fast-food world is notorious for wonky schedules only going up a day before the week begins, broken promises on hours (both over and under), horrendous pay, and little to no defense of employee dignity in the face of customers with rank dispositions. With the wave of strikes (Nabisco, John Deere, IATSE) making the news, and lack of hazard pay/brutal physical attacks over mask mandates still very fresh in workers’ minds, smart companies are hipping themselves to the fact that “low level” employee acquisition and retention needs to be much more than the ‘work here or starve’ tactics that have served since the beginning of decades of wage stagnation. The best way for that fact to stay front-of-mind is to go out and live the truths behind it.

In Raising Cane’s case, the company also announced that they’re upping wages at all locations — to the tune of an actually not totally insulting $2 per hour, resulting in a starting wage of $15 and a managerial wage of $18.

Ideally, paying people more to cook, clean, and customer service all in one job will actually attract people back to fast food work. Seriously consider the fact that the people cleaning fast-food toilets are the same people making the food that goes into your mouth. The additional fact is that it’s better for everyone’s health when they’re paid enough to care about what they’re doing and stay healthy themselves.

Of course, one does also need to consider how much inflation has affected the price of goods and housing since the ‘fight for $15’ began almost a decade ago in 2012. Now, raising wages closer to the end point of multiple goods still might not be enough!

AJ Kumaran continued, “The chicken prices are through the roof. Logistics are very hard. Shipping is difficult. Simple things cups and paper napkins — everything is in shortage right now. Some are overseas suppliers and others domestic suppliers. Just in poultry alone, we have taken significant inflation.”

That’s global disruption for ya.

It remains to be seen whether this plucky move can save Raising Cane’s dark meat, but I’m very pro regardless. Send more top-earning employees into the trenches! No more executives with 0 knowledge of how the sausage sandwich gets made.

No more leading from behind.

Why not? What are ya? Chicken?

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

This story was first published in November 2020.

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