The Uber Challenge

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest online column—this one marking his debut at Time—Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about Uber, the automobile-for-hire service that finds itself surrounded by controversy.

“Last week,” Wartzman writes, “Los Angeles transportation officials joined a growing number of municipal regulators attempting to rein in the upstart. They sent Uber (along with Lyft and Sidecar, two other companies that similarly find fares via smartphone apps) a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that its drivers stop picking up passengers in the nation’s second-largest city.”

But as Peter Drucker would have seen it, “both the taxi operators and their local government overseers are focused on the wrong thing: trying to sweep Uber into yesterday’s reality, rather than helping move the entire system toward tomorrow’s,” Wartzman says.

As Drucker wrote: “Regulations, no matter how badly needed at any one time, and how beneficial at any one time, always become obsolete eventually.”

Wartzman goes on to assert that the anti-Uber crusade is hurting customers, cabbies and, ultimately, the taxi companies themselves.

“The more time, energy, and money that the taxi companies spend on defending their turf through rules and bureaucracy,” Wartzman writes, “the less these resources can be put into what matters most if they’re going to survive in the long run: improving their own services (including their own apps) and, in turn, their standing with consumers.”