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Class Notes - week 3

Some interesting points out of today’s discussion on online labor softwares and weather they’re a boon or bane for global living standards.

  • Users (both drivers and riders) aren’t married to apps like Uber. Which app to use depends on consumer choices (i) price, some people like cheapest (ii) service, some people like it fast (iii) some are loyal to a brand.
  • Governments passing legislation that encourages unionization of commmodities (cars) owned and operated by labor (drivers), will discourage companies like Uber & Lyft to be competitive. Is that good for the marketplace? Or the workers? There wasn’t a conclusive answer to that.
  • Are the workers on that platform owners/entrepreneurs in their own right? Or workers? The answer for me is simple, if they’re setting the price (AirBnb) then they’re entrepreneurs/owners and should buy their own insurance.
  • If they’re not (Uber), then they’re workers. If workers are bidding for work, they’re again responsible for their earnings and operate as entrepreneurs.
  • Isolating blocks of hours to do work on these marketplaces has pain points that are not obvious from the outset.
  • Women are likely to be drawn to flexible working hours and using such platforms.
  • If comapnies like Uber continue to drop prices, they’re putting themselves out of business in the long run (unless they’re investing in technologies that are complimenting their product).
  • Airbnb has a strong review based community, easy to make a business model out of it in the long run esp. if the hosts decide what to charge.