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What Uber Can Teach Every Startup About Preparing for the Future

What Uber Can Teach Every Startup About Preparing for the Future getty 481423958 20001333200092800 210226

Uber is synonymous with disruption and transportation. What started with ridesharing has expanded to autonomous (driverless) vehicles and even plans for flying cars. Whether you love them or loathe them, there are some important lessons you can learn from the company’s journey.

Uber partners with everyone

The news is full of headlines about how Uber is teaming up with both industry and government leadership. From tech blue chips like Intel to traditional car companies like Mercedes to financial service providers like GoBank, Uber constantly finds a way to embed and extract value from their partner relationships.

This philosophy also extends to cities. And while not all communities are enthusiastic about global ride sharing services, cities like Pittsburgh and states like Arizona have been rolling out the welcome mat to test self-driving vehicles. This has created a bit of an innovation line in the sand. Cities that embrace advances in urban mobility innovation are perceived as cutting edge, while others are deemed out of touch.

In the innovation economy, even competitors can quickly become collaborators. This is a beacon to businesses of all sizes and types. How do the lessons of Uber apply to your own company? Are you adhering to deeply held beliefs or are you ready to embrace new realities? Flexibility is a survival skill in a rapidly evolving world.

Look for the Opportunity in Uncertainty

Where there is change, there is opportunity. Elliot Katz, an expert in the Connected and Self-Driving Car Practice for DLA Piper advises entrepreneurs to “think about how the world is going to change when humans are only riding in–as opposed to driving–vehicles. Cars in the future may transform into more like a mobile living room, so what are products and services that people may want or need in their vehicles?” 

And then there is the data. Uber is helping to redefine the manifesto of transportation because they know it is less about the vehicle and more about the value of the data that the ride creates. Companies like Mercedes know this and are looking to Uber to examine some of the top concerns in the industry: data collection, management, security and monetization. Are you prepared to compete in a data-rich world? How will you support or perhaps benefit from the data strategies of larger companies like Uber or other corporates?

There will be plenty of success stories to come in the wake of the connected car movement. The auto industry has committed to fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.This has big consequences since connected cars are an important part of citywide IoT strategy. Driverless has been deemed as a way to “ reimagine mobility from the ground up.” Ronald E. Bogle, the president and CEO of American Architectural Foundation, went so far as to say, “this could be the great American do-over.”

Moving Forward

If Uber can teach us anything it’s to not only expect the unexpected, but to embrace it and perhaps even create it.

Which leaves us with the final lesson. You can define the ‘new normal’ when you own the category. In a world that feels completely unpredictable and out of control, one thing remains constant, if you are creating the movement, you make the rules. Just ask Uber.

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