A thank you letter to Uber
When we think about people in the public eye we should thank, we think of figures such as Mother Teresa (we'll let Christopher Hitchens spin in his grave at this mention) or Princess Diana, who virtuously stood out because of their charity work. However, it is demonstrably true that the people who create the technology that betters our lives need an even bigger sense of gratitude.
The Ayn Rand Institute's Yaron Brook has a great way of going about the said issue:
In the exact same spirit, I'd like to pick out a particular company, and to thank it for its services: Uber. Now, before you roll your eyes and comment that I'm writing a large advertisement for a major company (I'm not being paid for this by the way, though I wish I were), consider these businesses as more than just a daily transaction partner. Someone had to take risks, take up a loan, spend long hours of work on a project of which they did not know that it would be successful. You can certainly believe that the fares you pay on your Uber ride are a transaction that seals the deal on how much you need to appreciate the service, but I'd argue that there is more to it.
I'm not a person who switched the provider of a taxi service to Uber, I'm what someone who looks at the marketplace could call a "neo-consumer". I did not use taxis at all prior to the popularisation of Uber, most notably because my image of taxi drivers was a very negative one, and because I was simply unable to afford the service.
So thank you Uber for giving me access to a service that was previously inaccessible to me. Instead of taxis being for businessmen and people who saved up for their vacation, I too could realistically afford an Uber ride after a night out.
Thank you for providing a service to low-income consumers and students, who are relying on public transport or the costly expense of owning their own car in areas in which ride-sharing is not available.
Thank you for providing drivers with an opportunity to get a fresh start into their work life, without going through the bureaucratic procedure of the taxi industry. You have given people thousands of jobs, and control over their own working hours, for which you should be thanked.
Thank you for accepting customers indiscriminately of their origin, skin colour or language skills.
Thank you for providing a better service, by incentivising drivers to be friendly, keep their cars in good order, as well as give customers transparency over costs and the route that is being taking. Thank you for an efficient customer service that helps single out bad drivers, through ratings and complaints.
Thank you for being an alternative to ambulance use in many cities, when emergency services are slow and expensive.
Thank you for being the reason that people do not need to walk through unsafe areas at unsafe times, because they are able to afford an alternative.
Thank you for helping to reduce drunk driving.
Thank you for looking ambitiously into the future, to make more great things happen.
And like all the things we say thank you for, be that the weather, our health, or our parents, you are not perfect. But it's still damn good you're around