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I'm just here so I don't get fined...

Does Uber Care? No, I Don't Think So

Uber

Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been all over the media trying to rehabilitate Uber's reputation by telling us that Uber cares and will make things right when they go wrong. This is great spin, but is it really true? If my experience with Uber, lately, is any indication, it's not. It's business as usual at Uber.

Have you ever contacted Uber's customer service? First, you can't do anything except send a message with the app, but even then, you are constrained in your topics and ability to do so. Often, to get someone to read your issue, you have to select an irrelevant topic.

Once making it past that hurdle, you then send your message and wait for the inevitable misunderstood response. I have honestly never sent a message to Uber in which the response was in any way relevant to my actual complaint. Once going back and forth for the better part of a day with Uber, one may get a response that is aligned to the subject, but there's no guarantee there.

In my latest interaction with Uber, I requested a ride while in San Francisco. The app told me the wait would be about 8 minutes, and I waited while watching the car make its way to me. Once it was near, it was clear that the driver was going the wrong way and would never be able to reach my location. Sure enough, as the app was telling me that the driver was arriving, the car disappeared and the app told me that the driver had to cancel. Just like that.

I had to start over, wait another ten minutes and then... same thing. Driver cancelled.

The third time was a charm, some half-hour after I'd requested my first ride.

I contacted Uber and explained the situation and the response to me was that I should be fine, I wasn't charged a cancellation fee.

Wait. What?

I explained that it was the driver who had cancelled and noted that had I cancelled, I would have been charged $5, but when a driver does it, there's no consequence.

The response I received asked me for a screen shot of the $5 charge I incurred.

After going back and forth, I finally managed to explain what happened and was then told that this is the policy and there would be no refund. Not even an apology.

So... Dara? How is this "making it right?"

Sleestaq Logo!

The very talented Matt Zanzibar has delivered the logo for Sleestaq, LLC, my new company for all of the web development and properties I'm working on. Much more about all of this to come, along with my new goal of a daily blog entry here at Bit.Parts!

There Are No Aliens

One thing I've come to realize that really gets me down...

... is that aliens are almost surely not real. If they were, there's simply no way Donald Trump could keep his mouth shut about them.

Spam by Any Other Name

It's one thing to sign me up for spam. It's another for a company to do it and claim it's some kind of benefit.

Someone (who shall not be named) sent me a link to a property that was on Zillow.com yesterday. This was fine, as I've been thinking about such things lately, but what happened next was surprising. I got an email from Zillow:

Since a home was recently shared with you, we created a free Zillow account for you to browse millions of homes, save and share your favorites, connect with professionals and shop mortgages.

 

Seriously?! Not only did this indicate that the spam would start, but it also created an account on a site I'd never used nor wanted. I had to go delete it and unsubscribe. Now yes, it's one thing for someone to sign you up for spam. It happens. But that's typically someone pretending to be you, and one would hope that in 2017, double-confirmation would happen. In this case, however, Zillow knew that the account they were creating was for someone that hadn't visited their site and, as you can see from the message I got, I wasn't asked if I wanted the account. They just created it as if they were doing me some kind of favor.

Zillow? FAIL.

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ChrisSplaining: Trump on Teamwork

Donald Trump speaks highly of being a team player. He's right, even if he doesn't heed his own advice.

More than ever, working together is integral to survival as well as to success. Keeping the team spirit alive and well in your personal and professional lives will give you some very good, even surprising results.

-- Donald Trump (Think Like a Champion)

 

Working together is clearly important - nobody sensible argues against that. The benefits of teamwork fill book after book on business as well as personal life. But it seems to me that Mr. Trump, once again, demonstrates behavior that Shakespeare would have described as protesting too much*. It seems so obvious to call out teamwork in a book of business advice, but he regularly demonstrates that "me first" is his general rule. Loyalty, for him flows one way (to him) and any teamwork is predicated on his being served first and deferrals granted. Mr. Trump does not practice teamwork unless the team toes his lines.

Which illustrates the point I'd like to make: teamwork only works if you're a part of the team. Be first among equals if you merit such a position, but never be above the team. Lead by consensus, not edict. Otherwise, step away from this deception and lead deliberately, abandoning the urge to falsely claim that teamwork is your goal. Both are valid paths, but be honest about which you choose.


* In Hamlet, Queen Gertrude says, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks", indicating overstated insincerity. In this case, however, I have little doubt that Mr. Trump believes what he says, even if he doesn't live up to it.

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