Uber, AirBNB – what’s next?

I am currently reading “The Upstarts” by Brad Stone.  This book is a great read about how companies such as Uber and AirBNB are changing the world and the way businesses operate.  Here we have two businesses that entered the market place shunning regulations and requirements and have commanded market leadership.

As we have seen throughout Australia including here in Queensland, Uber operated outside the regulations and have forced governments to change the way they have regulated the taxi industry.

Uber and AirBNB are big enough to challenge the way things are done and government legislation and regulations and make changes to industries.  Whether you think Uber and like companies are ethical is a decision for the reader, however, interestingly, the taxi industry have failed to show their client base why they should not use Uber services and remain loyal to the conventional taxi services.

Also, governments are struggling to say no to these new types of business, but rather are trying to catch up with them with legislation and regulations.

The way customers have got on board with these types of organisations has been relatively fast.  However, what is interesting is that it is questionable as to whether Uber is really making an overall profit.  Remember, Uber is not a listed company and therefore what its real value is open to debate.  Some opinions place Uber’s value in excess of $60 billion (US), however, its immediate problem is how they turn its revenue into profit.

If nothing else, the learnings from Uber and AirBNB is that many customers are price choosers.  If they see a product which is acceptable to them at a significantly reduced price they are prepared to forgo somethings for the cheaper price.  Many businesses need to look at their industries to see if they are vulnerable to Uber or AirBNB type entrants who can change the whole playing field.

David Balwin Tax Accounting CFO Business Advice