Currently brands in tech are taking a beating.
Facebook can't catch a break on the privacy issues. With the midterms coming up its troubles could increase exponentially.
The stink on how Amazon treats workers hasn't been lifted by raising the minimum wage to $15.
Alphabet had to kill off Google+.
And, Uber has not been able to mutate into Nice Guy under chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi. Yes, as Nick Bilton explains in Vanity Fair, there has been an improvement since he replaced the infamous Travis Kalanick.
For instance, revenues for Q2 2018 are 70% higher than the previous year. But the perception of a culture of bad treatment of women and minorities is intact.
The three major issues, though, which continue to throw shade on the Uber brand are:
Image of sustained exploitation of contract workers. Much of public opinion has it that they should be classified as employees, with the protections and benefits of employees.
Elimination of most of those contract assignments by the introduction of the autonomous car. Khosrowshahi contends AI and the human worker will partner in the future of work. Few are buying that.
Vulnerability of autonomous car to hacks by enemies of the U.S. Hacking is so organized and sophisticated that it has become almost "cybercrime as a service." Cybercriminals from a government or an economy adversarial to the U.S. could, as Bilton puts it, transform a fleet of self-driving cars in a weapon of destruction.
In litigation and in lobbying in federal and state government, Uber carries both the burden of its frat boy past and its current business model which seems exploitative 0f human manpower and reckless about human safety.
The mission to rebrand seems almost impossible. Likely the self-driving car will worsen the situation. It could create massive unemployment and issues of national security.
Uber is positioned and packaged to be supervillain.
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