Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, spent months as an undercover driver and delivery agent to understand the experiences of drivers during the pandemic. His experiment helped shape significant changes to the app, including labour shortage solutions and addressing drivers' needs. Uber's ride-share revenue doubled, and the company posted its first full-year adjusted profit since its founding.
Khosrowshahi made headlines when he revealed that he spent several months as a driver to understand the experiences of drivers during the pandemic, stated an NDTV report.
The experiment forced the CEO to reexamine every single assumption that they've made. In an interview with Wall Street Journal, Khosrowshahi shared that the industry, as a whole, took drivers for granted to some extent.
The CEO made dozens of trips as an undercover driver in the hills of San Francisco. He faced several challenges that helped him understand the issues that drivers face.
During his time as an undercover driver, he was punished by the app for rejecting rides, being tip-baited by customers, and faced the rudeness of some Uber riders.
The campaign, code-named Project Boomerang, helped shape what has become one of the biggest makeovers of Uber's business since its inception in 2009. The CEO was under pressure from investors to increase profits.
Uber faced a labor shortage after the economy reopened in 2021. The company figured out that it had to do more to get drivers on board than just offer them bonuses. The company adopted some difficult changes that the drivers had asked for, and they paid off.
Uber's ride-share revenue more than doubled in 2022, and the company posted its first full-year adjusted profit since its founding. It now commands 74% of the US ride-share market, up from 62% in early 2020, according to consumer receipts analyzed by market research firm YipitData.
Khosrowshahi said that "the whole experience was pretty clunky." He began his stint as an Uber driver by using a secondhand Tesla to masquerade as an Uber driver chauffeuring people around the city, with a curated Spotify playlist and all. He made several changes, but he said that there is still a long way to go.
The CEO's Experiment Pays Off
Khosrowshahi's undercover experience as an Uber driver and delivery agent helped him understand the drivers' perspective and make significant changes to the app.
The changes helped the company increase its revenue and market share, making it one of the most successful ride-sharing apps in the US. The CEO's experience serves as a reminder that user experience and understanding users' needs are crucial to a company's success.
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