In the past Uber has attempted various additional business ventures. While some have failed miserably, others have had remarkable success, such as Uber Eats and Jump Bike. In the same entrepreneurial spirit, Uber has announced that they are adding four completely unrelated new lines of business to their existing portfolio of services. All four of them have been in beta test mode in select markets around the world for approximately 3-6 months now. When funding comes in from their upcoming IPO, they will be able to expand these four businesses in an enormous way.
We recently caught up with some of the top people at Uber for a group interview to discuss the new business units. Unfortunately, the CEO was not available at the time of this interview, as he is still on an apology tour for the actions of the previous CEO. However we did manage to speak to high level executives from each of the new units.
The 4 business categories are outlined below.
The first new line of business is the Prison line. Drawing from the existing stock of Uber drivers worldwide, Uber has selected the most heartless among them to transport and guard prisoners.
“Punishment is a consistent growth field, which is perfect for Uber to delve into.” said Mr I. Ron Chains, who is spearheading the Uber Prisons program. He was quick to point out that Uber’s strict ‘no firearms’ policy would still be enforced. “If the prisoners don’t get guns, then the guards shouldn’t have any either.” says Mr Chains. “We can’t have our customers feeling threatened by our employees, er, contractors.”
Incarceration has unique challenges, and maintaining a prison brings special risks, in addition to a much needed level of emotional control. When asked if existing drivers is the right place to look for recruiting future prison guards, Mr Chains responded “Are you kidding? Have you met some of them? Just read what they write on the internet and Twitter! They are nothing but ruthless scum! All they care about is money. They are perfect for the job!”
With regards to Partner pay, Mr Chains was rather vague on the issue. “All of our Prison Guard-Partners are independent contractors, and we pay them by the job, just like every other Uber division pays the partners. When they are actively guarding a prisoner, they will be earning huge money.”
As an added bonus for the Uber Prison Guard-Partners, any license plates made at the prisons will be sold to the contractors (if they drive for Uber also) at a significant discount (up to 5% off), but only if they meet certain criteria.
When asked about potential prison escapes, Mr Chains told us that “There will be no escapes. We take these issues very seriously, and will immediately take steps to warn and then possibly deactivate any Prison Guard-Partners that allow an inmate to escape. Repeated inmate escapes will definitely increase the likelihood of their deactivation, after a thorough investigation of course. We don’t mess around.”
The second new line of business is Dating.
“Tinder is too slow” said Evelyn (“Eve”) Elle, Sr VP of Uber Dating. “All that swiping, then having to go on a date, maybe two or three. What a waste of time and money! Dating a stranger shouldn’t be that challenging. With Uber Dating, our customers are guaranteed ‘quality date time’ the same day, or their money back.”
Uber Dating allows a customer to order a Date, which will arrive (via Uber Pool or Express Pool) within thirty minutes. Any additional costs that a customer wants to bear is completely on them, nothing else is required, not even a tip. Uber Dating-Partners are strongly encouraged to offer mints, water, and maybe other things, but are not required to.
“Uber pre-screens our Dating-Partners at least once every year to make sure they have no … issues.” said Eve. “Safety is the most important thing at Uber. We take this issue very seriously.”
Critics have claimed that this branch of Uber’s service amounts to nothing more than a prelude to prostitution. Eve’s response: “We are simply a technology company, nothing more. No one ever said anything about sex being involved. Our Dating-Partners can go offline at any time, they have complete freedom when it comes to being an independent contractor with Uber.”
To date, approximately 96% of Uber’s Dating-Partners identify as male. When asked how customers could be assured that they would be partnered with a Dating-Partner that was of the appropriate gender and desired orientation, Eve Elle told us that there is absolutely no discrimination allowed on the Uber Dating platform, anywhere in the world. “Uber Dating is a fantastic way for our Dating-Partners to make money. Many of them do this part time. Some are single moms and dads just trying to raise their children with the extra income. Some are retired individuals who do this simply to get out of the house and meet people in their twilight years. This is such an amazing opportunity, and we cannot deny anyone the right to earn extra money for easy part time work.”
On the topic of safety, Eve Elle pointed out that when a Date is ordered, the customer has the Dating-Partner’s name, picture, and their rating from the past 500 rated Dates. They can see written reviews that customers left from that Partner’s previous Dates. Furthermore, any partner who falls below a certain rating threshold is under threat of being removed from the program unless they complete an online course (for a fee).
Dating-Partners are not allowed to bring along anyone else on their Dates, nor are they allowed to let anyone else Date for them, as these other people have not been pre-screened.
Critics are in an uproar regarding the possibility that minors could potentially be present during Dates. When asked about the variety of clientele that this might attract and the dangers involved, Eve was quick to remind us that minors are prohibited from creating accounts, and that parents are not allowed to order Dates for anyone under the age of 18. “If any of our Dating-Partners are summoned to a location where they suspect that the only person there is a minor, they should ask for ID and contact support, through the app, in order to be paid a cancellation fee. All customers on a Date must be age 18 or older, no exceptions, at least in the United States.
The third new business line involves post-mortem situations.
“People all over the world die every day. With Uber Burial our service begins right at the end of life.” says Rowlan Over, newly appointed head of the Uber Burial unit. Mr Over tells us that immediately after death, a grieving family member orders an Uber Burial, and a vehicle arrives promptly to load the deceased and transport them to the proper facility. “We have screened our drivers thoroughly to make sure that EVERY driver has an appropriate amount of trunk space, capable of accommodating almost every size body.”
When questioned regarding the reports of bodies being sent to the wrong facility or simply dumped on the side of the road, Mr Over indicated that those early Partners are no longer partnered with Uber Burial, and that those were isolated incidents.
Phase Two of the service is the transformation or destruction of the corpse. Mr Over says “Some customers may want a quick cremation of their loved one’s bodies, while others may want a full service funeral and burial, which comes at a slight premium versus the cremation rates. Think of it as comparing Uber Pool versus Uber X.”
The secret to eventual profits is in the economies of scale. By holding onto the bodies for two or three weeks before taking action, Uber facilities are able to save costs by performing all the services at once. The smell shouldn’t be a problem, claims Mr Over, because Uber workers are “already brain dead” and “easily replacable”. When asked for further clarification, Mr Over denied having made that comment.
We spoke anonymously with one of the workers at the facility, who told us “This job is great, I can work whenever I want. Some people complain about the pay and that we have to provide our own tools, but if they don’t like it then they can go get a job somewhere else. There’s plenty of minimum wage jobs out there that don’t involve strict health codes; those whiners can go push a broom or something.”
When asked for comment regarding the government investigations stemming from allegations of bribery at hospitals and larger hospice centers, Mr Over had no comment except to say that “This is a dead issue.”
Mr Over also had no comment regarding the recent lawsuit, claiming that some Uber Burial-Partners were ‘losing’ headstones (paid for by customers) and selling them to college fraternities for use as Halloween decorations.
The fourth line of business is Uber Military, a potentially explosive business from an investor’s viewpoint.
“The idea for Uber Military was hatched in late 2014. Once we realized how easy it was to prey on the human condition without remorse or consequences, the doors just really opened up!” said Ms Barbara Dwyer, Senior VP of Military Partner Relations. “In this day and age it only makes sense to modernize the military with automation. Why should the good men and women of the world’s militaries put their lives on the line, when Uber can run their tanks and planes and warships for them?”
Barb Dwyer continued: “Uber Military will recruit only the best to be responsible for each country’s multi-billion dollar machines of war. Each recruit will go through Uber’s industry-leading background checks, and will be re-checked every year. There will be online video guides available on how to operate equipment, so our Soldier-Partners will be cutting edge experts at whatever they do, whether it is firing a Howitzer or cleaning a nuclear powered submarine engine or sweeping a minefield. In addition, Soldier-Partners will need to maintain a high rating in order to continue receiving tours of duty; the state-of-the-art Uber rating system holds everyone accountable to a higher standard of excellence in warfare.”
Numerous critics have questioned the wisdom of Uber’s ultimate desire to automate defense networks, citing apocalyptic scenarios from movies such as Terminator and Matrix. In Uber’s defense, Barb Dwyer told us that there will be Uber Soldier-Partners manning and womanning every piece of machinery at all times. “The only thing truly automated will be those horrible killer attack drones, which we are furiously lobbying against in an attempt to ban them worldwide.”
She further went on to say “War has a terrible price attached. All that death and destruction, military families devastated, service members with lifetime injuries, and outrageous overhead attributable mostly to troop expenses. By utilizing Uber Military, a country’s costs will be reduced dramatically, and all of those terrible things will be delegated to Uber Soldier-Partners; these are people who WANT those jobs. Nobody is being forced to do it; we pay our Soldier-Partners very well, and if they don’t like the situation they are in, they can simply go offline at any time. We take the issue of safety very seriously!”
She continued with: “Imagine a world where the initials PTSD, MIA and KIA for normal humans is a thing of the past – it is possible with Uber Military!”
As far as coverage for Uber’s ‘Partners’ that are injured or killed in the line of duty, Barb had this to say: “As a requirement for being an Uber Soldier-Partner, each individual must commit to wearing the appropriate safety gear, which is offered to them at very reasonable prices. Furthermore, Uber has never provided insurance nor any other health related benefits to any of its Partners, as this would compromise their independent contractor standing. To be clear, all of our hard working men and women are independent contractors. Instead of benefits, we will be giving them what they really want: stars, badges, and a new user friendly app.”
At the time this interview took place, approximately 6 dozen countries allow Uber to be used for transportation services. To date, Barb said that 187 countries have expressed an interest in Uber Military.
This article was written by your friendly neighborhood Mista T. If you like it, please give me 5 stars and an Entertaining Driver badge. No disrespect intended towards real military members or families.