Uber is draining its cash-burning Pool

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Uber is draining its cash-burning Pool
Uber

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Soundtrack: This week's newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Dr. Lonnie Smith "Why can't we live together" (featuring Iggy Pop)


This week: Uber is draining its cash-burning Pool

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After what seems like an eternity, I've recently started using ride-hailing services again and venturing beyond the 5-block radius around my house. The Uber app worked just as it did when I last opened it - except that the UberPool option was no longer available.

Uber and Lyft both halted shared rides during the pandemic. And as Tom Dotan reports, the famous option allowing you to travel alongside garrulous and (often) drunken strangers in exchange for rock-bottom fares, may not be coming back to Uber - at least not in the way it used to be.

  • Say goodbye to those 50% discounts. The low rates were a good way to grab market share, but not sustainable given that UberPool was burning close to $1 billion a year.
  • Uber may also limit the pool feature to certain routes or certain times of day.

It's all in keeping with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's ruthless focus on the bottom line.

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Read the full story here:

Uber insiders say the company is quietly killing off UberPool as we know it and a new more expensive version of the service will replace it.


Hey boomer, wanna look cool to your kids?

The hot new app for Gen Z launched this week and rocketed to the top of the download charts. The photo-sharing app is called Poparazzi and it's gaining buzz by taking a sledgehammer to ossified social media norms.

A decade ago, Snapchat stole a generation of young users from Facebook by making photos disappear. For Poparazzi, the social media shackle to liberate users from is the selfie. As Insider's Margaux MacColl writes:

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The app, created by Alex Ma and his brother Austen, encourages you to become "your friend's poparazzi" instead posting pictures of yourself.

Rather than a perfectly curated Instagram grid, a user's profile consists of unedited photos that others have taken. Poparazzi also eschews traditional social-media metrics: There's no follower count or likes, only total "views" on a user's photos and the number of emoji reactions to their posts.

So if your kids have made you feel like an out-of-touch dinosaur, now you can flip the script on them and turn them on to the hot new app - if they're not already using it.

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Snapshot: Amazon's decompression chamber

There are phone booths, trade show booths, restaurant booths, and now, there are Amazon "zen" booths.

The compact cubicle pictured below is a "mindful practice room" designed to provide Amazon warehouse workers with a private place to relax and meditate during breaks.

Uber is draining its cash-burning Pool
Amazon.com

The meditation booths are part of an initiative rolled out by Amazon to provide physical and mental wellness resources for warehouse workers - a key pillar of departing CEO Jeff Bezos' vow to make Amazon "Earth's safest place to work."

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The introduction of the zen booths has been anything but peaceful though. Ever since they were spotted by Vice, the booths have been lampooned as"dystopian" coffin-sized "despair closets," by various critics and publications that have noted the famously grueling conditions Amazon warehouse workers endure on the job.


Quote of the week:

"I felt like I was being silenced. I was just disappointed Satya Nadella would let that happen."

- Harvey Mudd College President and former Microsoft director Maria Klawe, in an exclusive interview with Insider's Ashley Stewart, said she was forced off the software maker's board after an awkward on-stage interview with CEO Satya Nadella, in which Nadella famously said women employees should rely on "faith"in the system for pay raises.

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Recommended readings:

Europe's most valuable startup, Klarna, is raising fresh cash from mega-investor SoftBank at a valuation above $40 billion

Colonial Pipeline's $4.4 million ransom payment caught the government crime fighters beating the hackers by surprise. They thought they were winning.

Startup valuations have reached a record high. The average late-stage company is now a $1 billion unicorn, PitchBook says.

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We identified the 181 most powerful people at Intel as new CEO Pat Gelsinger tries to turn around slowing growth at the chip giant. Here's our exclusive org chart.

The world's billionaires, CEOs, and politicians didn't get to schmooze at Davos this year. Does the elite confab still make sense after the pandemic?

He took his boss' money and then his head, police say. The disturbing story of the assistant accused of murdering and decapitating a tech CEO in New York.

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Not necessarily in tech:

An economic theory called 'reallocation friction' may explain why employers are having a hard time finding workers - and why a full recovery could be years away


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- Alexei

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