I was in L.A. last summer and was leaving a restaurant with my friend and former Stargate cohort Marty G. when I asked him if he was going to catch a cab back to his place. He threw me a look that seemed to say: “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!” and informed me that he was going to make use of something called Uber. I told him I’d never heard of Uber which elicited a look that seemed to say: “That last thing you said is now the SECOND craziest thing I’ve ever heard because this one is now in first place!”. He explained that Uber is an app that allows you to instantly connect with drivers. Instead of waiting forever for a taxi, you simply tap a button and the closest Uber-approved driver will be there within minutes. And that’s what it was – literally – minutes, from the second Martin tapped SEND to the second a car pulled up and whisked him away. Fantastic, I thought – and then thought nothing more of it until I came across this article today:
Apparently, cab drivers in France aren’t taking kindly to Uber moving into their territory. And cab drivers in Los Angeles aren’t fond of the popular app either: last summer
What’s the problem? Well, bottom line: the service is too damn convenient. Crazy as it sounds, customers actually prefer the convenience of getting somewhere quickly without having to wait around. And, as a result, established taxi companies are losing business. What to do?
Well, the obvious answer would be for the taxi companies to move past their antiquated systems and catch up with the current trends. Incorporate similar technology into their dispatch structure that would allow cabs to reach customers just as quickly.
Or, they can take Vancouver’s lead, a city notorious for its shitty taxi service. Here, the taxi mafia is so strong that the merest whiff of putting more cabs on the street is met with protests forceful enough to send the current Mayor ducking for cover. So what happened when Uber attempted to enter the market here? Why, the city – in the interest of all Vancouverites – responded by setting regulations in place that, in their mind, “levelled the playing field”. And by “levelled the playing field”, I mean required a minimum wait period between the time a call is made and driver can pick up a customer, and forced Uber drivers to charge limo price minimums of $75 a trip regardless of how far the customer was going.
Ah, good old Vancouver, always looking out for its citizens.
Speaking of catching up with current trends, there was this article over on deadline.com:
Here’s the problem: People are not watching television like they used to. More and more people are downloading, waiting to watch their favorite shows, and skipping commercials when they do. As a result, broadcasters must find alternate ways of monetizing their product.
Wait. What’s this you say? This has actually been an issue for well over twelve years now? That even earlier, everyone – especially consumers – warned that this was the way things were headed. And this is suddenly news?!
Yes, please work on finding alternate revenue streams. Also, go ahead and sell that Betamax stock.
Well, hey, check it out. It’s the cover to our friend (editor extraordinaire) Lou Anders’ upcoming book:
Congratulations to Alex Levine who has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Writing in a Dramatic Series for Orphan Black – Unconscious Selection. It’s hard to believe that only nine years ago, he was an up-and-coming-writer working as a script coordinator on Stargate: Atlantis, cutting his teeth on a season 5 clip show and trapping the feral cats that inevitably wandered into our offices over hiatus.
Some writerly advice. From the gang at cracked.com?! The 5 Best Pieces of Writing Advice I Didn’t Get in School
Before you start work on that novel, you may want to read this: Software Accurately Predicts Books’ Popularity By Analyzing Their Sentences | Popular Science
Be not ashamed! Great article by Kameron Hurley for you scifi enthusiasts: Making Excuses for Science Fiction