The Council That Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — Why TODAY Matters for Start-Ups 206 Comments
This man hates you and your start-up.
7/10/12 UPDATE: DC Shelves Uber Amendment After Backlash from CEO and Customers. My dear readers, you all ROCK. Truly well done. It is a bright day for start-ups, and thank you for your support
This short post is more like a personal letter, because I just came across something that made me very angry. Namely, a tweet from my bud, Kevin Rose:
Wow, a business (Uber) is prevented from lowering its prices.. wait.. what? We live in America, right?
In full disclosure, I’ve been an advisor to Uber from the beginning. They’re amazing. I work with 20+ start-ups because I enjoy helping entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Small-business founders are the value creators of our economy. Period, end of story.
But sometimes the corrupt (often with a track record) try to stifle the little guys. Incumbents don’t like to compete. They enjoy their defacto monopolies, are accustomed to bilking customers at will, and don’t want to change things…
Pardon my Long Island French, but here’s how I feel: Fuck those guys.
Protecting the status quo doesn’t impress me. In fact, it really pisses me off.
The last time I implored you to spend a few minutes to change laws, we helped successfully ban the distribution and sale of shark fins in Washington and California, the latter being the largest importer of shark fins in the United States.
YOUR TINY ACTIONS, PUT TOGETHER, CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS.
Below is a snapshot of the Uber situation from the TechCrunch article, and I have a little ask at the end. It’ll get you some good karma:
The Council’s intention is to prevent Uber from being a viable alternative to taxis by enacting a price floor to set Uber’s minimum fare at today’s rates and no less than 5 times a taxi’s minimum fare. Consequently they are handicapping a reliable, high-quality transportation alternative so that Uber cannot offer a high quality service at the best possible price. It was hard for us to believe that an elected body would choose to keep prices of a transportation service artificially high – but the goal is essentially to protect a taxi industry that has significant experience in influencing local politicians. They want to make sure there is no viable alternative to a taxi in Washington DC, and so on Tuesday [today!], the DC City Council is going to formalize that principle into law.
THE COUNCIL VOTES ON THE UBER AMENDMENT [TODAY]!
If each of us writes or calls our DC Council people, we could make an impact on this law. What are we asking for?
Strike down the MINIMUM FARE language from the Uber Amendment.
Here are the City Council members’ contact info. Call/write as many of them as possible!
[7/10/12 UPDATE: No need to call or email anymore! DC Shelves Uber Amendment After Backlash from CEO and Customers.]
Phil Mendelson (Chairman), (202) 724-8064, email@example.com
Mary Cheh, Ward 3, (Chairperson of Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation), (202) 724-8062, firstname.lastname@example.org, @marycheh
Michael Brown, at-large, (202) 724-8105, email@example.com, @cmmichaelabrown
Jim Graham, Ward 1, (202) 724-8181, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jimgrahamward1
Jack Evans, Ward 2, (202) 724-8058, email@example.com, @jackevansward2
Muriel Bowser, Ward 4, (202) 724-8052, firstname.lastname@example.org, @murielbowser
Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5, (202) 724-8028, email@example.com,@kenyanmcduffie
Tommy Wells, Ward 6, (202) 724-8072, firstname.lastname@example.org, @tommywells
Yvette Alexander, Ward 7, (202) 724-8068, email@example.com, @cmyma
Marion Barry, Ward 8, (202) 724-8045, firstname.lastname@example.org, @marionbarryjr
David Catania, at-large, (202) 724-7772, email@example.com, @cataniapress
Vincent Orange, at-large, (202) 724-8174, firstname.lastname@example.org, @vincentorangedc
Those of you who read this blog know that I never write posts like this.
But I take this attack on Uber as a DC government-condoned attack on start-ups. I view it as an entrenched middle finger from incumbents who aren’t willing to improve their product or lower prices. Instead, they resort to underhanded legal means to handicap innovation. It makes my blood boil.
So, here’s what I’m going to do.
1) I’m going to e-mail every one of the above people today and tell them to read this post. E-mail helps, but phone is better…
2) Personally, I’m going to call every one of them today and politely but firmly ask them to “strike down the MINIMUM FARE language from the Uber Amendment.” I will have my assistants do the same. This shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes or so, but I won’t ask that of you…
3) I’m going to ask you all — the 1,000,000+ unique readers of this blog — to call as many of the above as possible. Let’s aim for the first four. But there’s more… Politely but firmly, get the name of the person you’re speaking with, tell them you’d like them to “strike down the MINIMUM FARE language from the Uber Amendment” and then ask them if they’re in favor of innovation or incumbents. Last, indicate that you’ll be putting their responses in the comments below.
7/10/12 UPDATE: DC Shelves Uber Amendment After Backlash from CEO and Customers.
This DC attack could set a horrible precedent for start-ups trying to improve any space with large incumbents. If you have a few minutes, please make one phone call. It will earn you positive karma… and the knowledge that you didn’t stand still and watch Goliath snuff out David with his thumb. There’s something real to be said for that.
Sorry for the rant, but this one is legitimate. To my mind, it cannot go unanswered.
Please spread the call to action far and wide. This is time-sensitive and needs to happen ASAP today.
Posted on July 10th, 2012