Recently, there has been a lot of Uber talks. It seems that everywhere I go, I hear the sound of Uber. As a tech entrepreneur, this could be good and bad. A unicorn startup can serve as an inspiration to many startups and entrepreneurs. But it can also be the culprit of too much unnecessary imitations, because the misleading signal suggests that there is an abundance of resources/capital in a single industry.
We all remember what happened to the daily deals industry, which attracted everyone’s attention in the tech circuit in 2012 when Google offered $6bn trying to buy Groupon. But now it’s all smoke and mirrors. Will the same thing happen to on-demand ridesharing industry in the future? Is there too much media hype about Uber these days? What are the consequences? I share my perspective in this week’s CoInvent newsletter. Here is what I wrote:
Silicon Valley has long represented something positive and innovative. When we discuss Silicon Valley, we think about Google, Facebook, or Apple. However, what goes up must come down. I believe with the good things, there are many problems existing with today’s Silicon Valley. Hype is one of them!
Last week’s big news came on Friday when Financial Times reported that Uber is out trying to raise $1 billion more with a higher-than-$17B valuation. The media went nuts! Actually, I don’t recall to hear anything else but Uber in media headliners theses days. Here are just a few from last week:
- Man and Uber Man – Vanity Fair
- The CEO of Uber Proudly Admits He Tried To Nuke His Biggest Rival’s Fundraising – Business Insider
- Uber looks to raise another $1bn – Financial Times
- Uber and Its Shady Partners Are Pushing Drivers into Subprime Loans – Valleywag
- Uber hires Google’s same-day deliver boss – Re/Code
Uber, Uber, Uber… When we get too obsessive with one particular startup, this country’s innovation rate goes down. We all know how many daily deals sites sprang up when Google offered $6 billion to buy Groupon back in mid 2012. Fast forward to today, we all know how group buying startups are doing. For example, LivingSocial just laid off 20% of their employees last week. What we need in Silicon Valley is objective reporting, less hype, and more work. What we should do is innovate in new industries, not trying to do another Facebook, Uber, or Yelp clone. Too much media hype can cause excessive imitation, which can be detrimental to innovation.
I could be wrong. But only time will tell whether the media frenzy will speed up or slow down Uber’s future growth.