- Seattle traffic image by Chris Kontoravdis / Shutterstock.com
First, Uber announced they'd hired on President Obama's former campaign manager and then White House advisor, David Plouffe, as what they're calling a "senior vice president of policy and strategy." Plouffe and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick cleared up what that means in interviews with Politico:
Plouffe, 47, will be one of the top few executives at the booming transportation disruptor, in charge of global branding, communications and policy—as [CEO Travis] Kalanick put it, Uber’s “campaign manager.”
“City Councils are voting on Uber all the time, and we have state legislatures voting on us, on the regular,” Kalanick said. “And there are even some referendums.” [...]
Plouffe, who has been advising major technology and communications companies since leaving the West Wing after Obama’s reelection, said in an interview that the new job is analogous to his role as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and then White House senior adviser.
“We’ll be trying to change the point of view of established politicians, and there’s a lot of resistance coming from people who want to protect the status quo,” Plouffe said, adding that he’ll be working with a lot of young people and “helping see the light about progress and change.”
Also this week came news that Uber has launched an experimental service, just in Washington, DC, called "Corner Store." What's Corner Store? Uber explains in a blog post:
No need to race to the store after a long day at the office—now you can request allergy medicine, diapers, toothpaste and over 100 other items through the Uber app. This limited-time-only experiment will run for a few weeks—but the more you love it, the more likely it will last.
It's been pointed out that by potentially adding grocery and drugstore delivery, they're basically taking on Amazon and Google.
Not only that, they also got added as a transportation option in United Airlines' mobile app, getting themselves an in at airports (long the sole domain of taxis and limos), alongside a host of integration deals with other apps—designed, as Ryan Lawler at Tech Crunch puts it, to be "able to offer a seamless end-to-end experience for diners, or travelers, or even just people who are going on a date with someone new."
At this point, I'm getting kind of freaked out by seamlessness. I have a nagging suspicion that seams might be really important. That we're going to miss all the seams. But hey, it's The Future. Smooth and seamless as expensive no-panty-line underwear, and with delivery Q-tips and ice cream bars to boot. Guess it's not all bad?