Startup Social Impact – Learnings from UBER – Social Impact

Credit - chicagoTribune
Credit – chicagoTribune

As an Entrepreneur, I have always been fascinated by the impact we make in people live’s – employees, partners, customers etc.

I recently visited USA after 8 long years and was great to see the country change so much! I had driven occasionally in US before and this time was very conscious in saving money and experiencing UBER.

I spent an entire month in commute in Bay Area and Raleigh on UBER. It did work out economically than renting a car. UBER = USD 395 (total trip of 30 days), while Car Rental = ~ USD 1250 (across 2 cities). Gross Savings of 216%

I’m a great fan of UBER in Bangalore as well (not so much of OLA), While the experience of the App, booking etc was the same, the Surprise element came in the “Conversations” and the “People” in the Cabs (read Drivers and Passengers). As an Entrepreneur Im always looking at ways to have a conversation to get a PULSE of the city, politics, business etc.

The biggest difference I saw was the “Uber Drivers” background between US and India. Many of the drivers in the US were people who had a Full time Day Job in various walks of life including High Tech, Restaurant Managers etc. Some of them were students as well. There were many who had left other jobs and took up UBER as it paid a higher $/hr for their time, background and skills. They dont mind working harder to meet their needs.

UBER has not only disrupted the Transportation and Automobile Industry, but has created labor shortage in many other low paying industries in US.

A driver in bayarea makes ~ USD 800 per week for 4 hrs of driving while a full time driver with UBER makes USD 1200 – USD 1500 per week. This is ~2x of what a Housekeeping personnel would make in US. This has created huge labor shortage in Housekeeping,Construction businesses etc

The value of appreciation in the “$/hr” earned is very high in US when compared to India.

The Social impact of this is leading to the Drivers having more time in their life to spend on activities that matter most to them, some are able to pay off their bills, get their kids better life, get themselves extra bucks to have a holiday, pay for health insurance etc. There has been no better alternate to make legitimate money in US using basic skills of driving a car!

This is a huge impact – Time, Money & above all “RESPECT”

In India, Uber Drivers are mostly (read 99%) the traditional drivers who were driving taxis and now appear on UBER. This is a big change for this section of population. Several of them have thrived in the UBER economy and fear that this might change! The social impact is recognized but not highly valued (yet). With Choking roads in every city in India, It would be great to see many of US become a part of the UBER economy of either signing up on the platform or become an entrepreneur on UBER economics (Hire more drivers and use your cars).

In either ways, you can contribute to the whole new way of creating a Social Impact that has changed people lives for the better!

One of the key things I learnt from this UBER economy through conversations, is that the Impact on people lives that can enhance their quality of life every day in a significant manner, will go a long way for the Brand and the Company to become a Sustainable business as people live it and vouch for it EVERY SINGLE DAY!

As a Startup, its important to have a significant view from the start on the Social Impact (Employees, Customers, Partners etc) our business or idea will have and a way to measure it.

If the Startup through its strategy can connect the Dots for Social Impact, Voila you have a viable business that will live longer!

10 Must-have Features in Every Mobile App

Earlier this year, a report mentioned that India’s app usage grew by 43% in 2016. Practically every business we know today has an app or aspires to have one. So if you’re venturing into the world of mobile apps, or contemplating it, wouldn’t you want to know what makes one app better than another? Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. Simple and user-friendly: Think of the apps you use most often. You love them for their utility but that means nothing if they are complicated to use. With numerous competitor apps in the Play store, the only way users stop at your app instead of moving on to the next one. The user experience (UX) is what sets your app apart. Ask yourselves the behavior around the app, when and where would a user use the app? How intuitive is it? Are there too many call-to-action buttons?
  2. Analytics: All businesses, especially early stage, lean startups need to measure each move or the lack of one on their app, so be sure to get analytics built into your app. Tools such as MixPanel, Clever Tap, Google Mobile Analytics, enable you to study behavior, retention, segmentation and funnel workflows.
  3. Social media: Speaking of user-experience, start it out the right way. It’s essential to use Facebook login or single sign in. Integrate sharing and other social features like inviting friends, creating profiles etc. All these features add to personalization and increase retention numbers of your app.
  4. Feedback: All products need to evolve and that’s only possible with consistent feedback from its users. Build in easy feedback features like automated survey, bug reporting, in-app feedback, ratings and reviews, real-time user chats etc. Several tools such as Apptentive, HelpStack, helpshift, offer these services.
  5. Security & Privacy: Some apps need this more than others. Think banking and finance apps, legal or healthcare. Even large e-commerce apps that hold payment information and subscriber information need to man their data very heavily. When working with an app developer, remember to ensure PBD, ‘Privacy by Design’ approach. This aims at building privacy and data protection up front, into the design specifications and architecture of information. One must also understand how privacy works with third-party tool integrations.
  6. Loading or launch time: What good is an app that doesn’t open? If your app is slow to load or crashes often, it will be uninstalled. Whether it is cache images, compressing and resizing them, reducing HTTP requests or loading data as required. A good mobile developer will help your app performance and make sure load time isn’t more than 6 seconds!
  7. Offline Features: A big part of the performance of the app is the ability to access at least some features offline.
  8. Customization: Allowing the user to adjust settings, colours, font size, privacy etc. is also a part of a good user experience. However, this may not be applicable to all kinds of apps but works well for those that are social in nature.
  9. Android, iOS or both: Take time to understand where your users are. However, cross-platform tools such as Cordova, Phone Gap, Xamarin among others enable you to create apps for both operating systems in a relatively simpler way.
  10. Regular Updates: As annoying as these maybe, updates are imperative and a sign of a thriving mobile app. It shows that you use feedback to evolve your product. The ongoing development allows you to fix bugs and add new features to sustain your popularity.

Your mobile app is a reflection of your business. Your startup’s growth, innovation, and dynamic nature should be visible in your mobile app too.