I wrote a thread today on Kalanick’s contribution to rider hailing and the on demand market. Turning it into a blogpost (with some edits).


No matter how much people shit on Travis Kalanick now, he made the cab hailing experience 10X better.

1/ Earlier you needed to spare dedicated time for looking a cab ride.

Now it is something you do in parallel with other tasks. I book my cab in my undies just after taking my bath. As I get ready, I click ‘Book Ride’ and minimize the app knowing Uber would find a ride for me.

From a synchronous task it became an async task of the going somewhere workflow.

2/ No matter how much people shit on safety of cab hailing rides, earlier you would never send your old parents on a 3AM ride to the airport with an unknown driver in a new city.

From what I know, for most cab hailing apps female customers is the biggest TG.

People don’t drink and drive knowing they can easily book a cab.

3/ Replacement of haggling in case of demand supply mismatch by surge pricing in the app.

Now even Swiggy and other on demand apps have incorporated surge pricing in case of supply demand gaps or in case of extreme weather conditions like rain to incentivise their drivers.

4/ Sitting at home and knowing your driver’s exact location, and if he is taking a right route. Intercepting if not. No need to call your driver to ask about where he is.

All on demand apps use this now.

5/ People don’t remember this but the only reason Paytm took off was because of their tie up with Uber.

Everyone started using them for paying Uber drivers.

If you look at Paytm’s growth curve, you will see two inflection points:

1/ Uber tie up

2/ Demonetization

Due to significantly small credit card penetration in India, all companies took the Uber route and started partnerships with Wallet companies or launched their own wallet.

Growth of Paytm, led to investment in this sector, led to growth of other wallets and now we have a vibrant fintech ecosystem in India.

Coming back to the Uber app, now you can send your kids to their Turion early morning and track their ride on the app.

You don’t have to travel with your kids, wife or parents everywhere because of fear for their safety.

All these things which we take for granted now were major innovations when they launched.

And we have Kalanick to thank for most of these.

We can hate him for many things which went wrong at Uber: toxic culture, growth at all cost mentality.

But he literally changed how we take a ride. Or order food. Or send parcels.

Oh, I forgot to mention dozens of companies which started post Uber, raised Billions of funding, employs hundred thousand+ people (including me ;) )