Uber and the coming disruption of finance

by: Mohamed A. El-Erian

The more I use Uber, the more I am convinced of the transformational power of recent technology innovations, especially when it is intelligently combined with behavioral science and economic principles. Indeed, it is only a matter of time until this potent mix disrupts an increasing number of industries, including certain segments of finance.

Arriving earlier this week in New York at Penn Station, I joined many others in a rather slow-moving line for taxis. I did so out of habit. But a few minutes into my wait, I realized that the smart thing to do was to pull up the Uber app on my phone. In a few seconds, Uber linked me up with a car, which picked me up four minutes later. The driver was courteous, and the vehicle was clean. And all this for a fare that was similar to what I would have paid for a traditional cab — after a much longer wait, that is.

By finding a powerful way to improve the well-being of both passengers and drivers, Uber is transforming a mode of urban transportation that, for a long time, has seen little positive evolution in the provision of service. Passengers get more than a pleasant phone interface to order their rides and monitor their progress. We feel incredibly empowered and enabled. We like that the fare is billed directly to a credit card that the company has on record; and that our feedback is solicited immediately and in a user-friendly manner.


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