Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Fight to Watch

I've never really understood California. For as much as you get the beach bum 'live and let live' type vibe when you're there and for all the technological innovation being churned out in silicon valley, the people seem to consistently elect politicians who have this affinity for unions, regulations and bigger government.

Here's how TechCrunch describes a potentially disruptive business under attack:

Last week San Francisco car matching startup UberCab was served a cease and desist order by the city of San Francisco because it did not have taxi licenses or taxi insurance and went beyond the normal scope of a limo service by picking people up right away.

As UberCab (which has now changed its name to Uber) serves primarily tech industry elite, there is much Internet debate over whether this is another case of “Innovation vs. Establishment” or a startup just straight up breaking the law.
Michael Arrington inked an editorial that noted out "The outpouring of support from the community will be huge. And given that this model has potential to shake up the industry is all the major metropolitan areas across the country, there’s going to be a ton of interest in this case from all around. And UberCab will bathe in free publicity."

I can't help but love fights like this. As it turns out, the publicity has been very helpful to Uber (peHUB):
“Given the cease-and-desist [orders], it’s been a busy week,” laughs Kalanick. “We’ve seen waves of social media interest. We were a trending topic on Twitter. It’s business as usual at this point, but with a lot more attention and activity.”

It’s great news for a company that right now has plans to move into new markets, including New York and Los Angeles, and will undoubtedly be facing knockoffs if it doesn’t hustle.

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