I’ve always been amazed that the animal kingdom is focused on eating to sustain life from dawn until dusk. There’s no day off for the animal kingdom. Here in Silicon Valley, the birds and squirrels are up early and singularly focused on their task of the day. I hear them meeting the new day with great enthusiasm.

Joining the birds and squirrels are the newest members of the gig economy: Uber and Lyft drivers. Starting late or taking a long lunch comes with a penalty: a loss of income. Taking a day off comes with a substantial penalty: no income for that day. There is no vacation, holiday or sick pay–it’s drive or earn nothing.

The drivers turn on an app on their phones which gives them access to riders needing to get a destination. The drivers don’t know what they are getting into when they agree to pick up a rider: it might be a $5 fare or a $50 fare. Drivers aren’t allowed to decline rides once they understand the rider’s needs.

The drivers have the potential to make more money than they might doing other minimum wage jobs but not much more. The exchange of time and energy for money is not entirely equitable.

The business model for Uber and Lyft isn’t much different from the model of the animal kingdom.

Is this really how we want to treat humans in the 21st century? Perhaps we do…

Photo Credit: Flickr, LikeADuck

Thought for the week:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Sir Richard Branson


Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, blogger and author based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner has focused on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. He can be reached through his website, www.DaveGardner.biz, or via phone at +1 408-475-7068.

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