lyft-pink

Sometimes I just want to tell lawmakers to shut up and host a hackathon.

You can almost see it: Legislators, business leaders and consumers huddled over laptops, not one in a suit, coffee cups everywhere.

Their task: Make a law regulating new technology that makes sense. The condition: It can’t be an amended version of some tired law.

It’s a stupid fantasy. I know that. Technology moves fast, for good reason. Policy moves slow, also — sometimes?—for good reason. I don’t envy anyone who has to make such mismatched forces work together.

lyft66But when booming transportation services hold their umpteenth survival rally at City Hall (see this story about today’s Lyft event) and the world’s most advanced electric automaker faces legislation that would shut it out of one of the country’s greenest states (that’s this story about Tesla daring to dodge the dealer system), you start to lose your patience.

Things are getting weird. Let’s figure this out.

Users turned activists

One of the more fascinating consequences of this tech policy clash is how closely the companies caught in the middle begin to resemble social causes, complete with rallies, protests and appeals to universal philosophies.

It’s awkward, but it’s working.

For now.

“With your help, we’ll continue to empower a movement that demonstrates how community can solve the greatest challenges of our time,” read an email inviting Lyft users to a Seattle community meeting last August, four months after the company launched here and one week before the Seattle City Council was set to discuss the fate of ride sharing.

Since then I’ve seen a half-dozen other emails from the company looking to enlist me in its fight. And just recently, letters urging new thinking ahead of Friday’s Seattle City Council vote have gathered the support of various Seattle tech and industry leaders.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 3.57.59 PM

Lyft has figured out that the best way to lobby legislators is through the public, which says a lot about the public. Catching a cheap front-seat ride with a couple taps is a Cool New Thing. And in the age of at-your-service smartphones, people have little patience for laws that threaten their ability to do Cool New Things. Plus, the values of the sharing economy are an easy sell.

But nobody wants this to go on. Businesses need to be businesses, not causes. And customers want to be customers, not activists.

Can we start over?

It’s not fair for one set of companies to be burdened by regulation—or protected, depending on your perspective—when another set of companies isn’t. In that sense, taxi drivers are right to gripe against ride sharing companies like Lyft, UberX and Sidecar. And vice-versa.

Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

But the solution isn’t to write the new players into the rules of an old game. It’s to anticipate what the game is becoming and write laws that help all the players. Above all, the consumers.

I’m no policy wonk. That just seems like common sense.

Hope came last week in the form of a bill introduced to the Washington state legislature. After months of government head scratching and local proposals that get mixed consumer reviews, at best, legislators are recognizing a need to take a step back.

“The legislature finds that Washingtonians are early adopters of technology and have come to rely on services provided by mobile application-based personal transportation services,” reads the bill, which would rethink the regulatory framework around transportation services.

“The legislature further finds that a piecemeal approach to regulating such services could result in a patchwork of conflicting standards, stifle innovation, and reduce consumer choice.”

But even when it means well, policy is SLOW. If the bill manages to pass as written and work as planned, it would revise regulations by the end of 2015. That’s an eternity in techland. Does catching up need to take two whole years? What happens in the meantime?

A simpler way

tesla-modelsWith Tesla the issue seems more clear cut. What? Tesla can’t open new stores in Washington because it sells directly to consumers? Come on. No.

“Tesla’s embrace of a direct, open competition sales approach is exactly what we say we want from old style, traditional industries to survive—innovation, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit,” Rep. Reuven Carlyle told GeekWire in response to two proposals that would stunt Tesla’s growing presence in the state.

“The ridiculous notion that the political process in the Legislature should intervene in the marketplace of ideas in the automobile industry to prevent Tesla from direct sales is patronizing at best, and many of us are committed to defeating this special interest legislation.”

I suppose at the end of the day, the future is inevitable. If Tesla and ride sharing companies are all they say they are, then the world is going to accommodate them and that’s that.

The only question is how much nonsense we’ll have to put up with in the meantime.

We can write our legislators. We can say our piece.

There’s no reason to put up with any more.

RelatedQ&A with Lyft co-founder John Zimmer: ‘I want to make sure we save Lyft in Seattle’Stopped in its tracks? Tesla faces ban on new stores in Washington stateAs Seattle decides fate of ride-sharing startups, Washington state gets involved

Comments

  • Mason

    Quit asking for more laws, that is your problem. We need less laws and lawmaking nannies out of our lives.

    • http://startuplawblog.com/joewallin Joe Wallin

      I agree we need fewer laws!

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        From the movie “Amadeus”:

        ORSINI-ROSENBERG: Too many notes, Your Majesty?

        EMPEROR: Exactly. Very well put. Too many notes.

        MOZART: I don’t understand. There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are required. Neither more nor less.

        EMPEROR: My dear fellow, there are in fact only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening. I think I’m right in saying that, aren’t I, Court Composer?

        SALIERI: Yes! yes! er, on the whole, yes, Majesty.

        MOZART: But this is absurd!

        EMPEROR: My dear, young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Cut a few and it will be perfect.

        MOZART: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?

        EMPEROR: Well. There it is.

  • http://startuplawblog.com/joewallin Joe Wallin

    Monica, I like the theme.

    • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

      Basic point: We need a smart solution, and we need it fast. The speed of nimble startups isn’t something lawmakers can easily emulate. But the pace we’re moving now isn’t doing anyone anyone any favors.

      • http://www.2barSpirits.com/ Nathan Kaiser

        These issues transcend all industries. For instance, I am limited to how many bottles I can sell to an individual. The amount of regulatory overhead for any new business is mind numbing; permitting, human resources/labor, process, etc.

        Less laws are the most efficient solution. Piling on more laws only compounds the problem exponentially.

        • http://startuplawblog.com/joewallin Joe Wallin

          Nathan, I agree. I have been advocating for “less law” for a long time! We ought be repealing more law than we make every year…

        • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

          Does your liquor have [insert objectionable thing here] in it? Is it contaminated? Is it labeled accurately? Businesses like yours are a great example of where we do want regulations, inspections, etc. Yeah, I can trust you, but I don’t know everybody else making liquor personally.

          We need laws to protect the common good, in a large sense, protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and we have seen repeatedly that trusting the marketplace to protect consumers doesn’t work. So, a blanket statement that you want “less laws” isn’t reasonable. If you want to make an argument about specific laws, then we can have a conversation.

          And on those specific laws about quantity selling (etc.), I will simply say I don’t know enough to comment. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if some of the laws were created as protectionist, just like the car dealer laws, and that others were created with unconstitutional religious intent, like all of the so-called ‘blue laws.” Laws like that I can live without.

          • http://www.2barSpirits.com/ Nathan Kaiser

            Interesting things:
            1. No one has ever visited 2bar from a regulatory perspective, though they would be welcomed as we do everything to the letter of the law.
            2. Why are spirits a great example of regulations and not anything else? Shouldn’t the consumer decide?
            3. Laws to protect the common good? Does that mean we should allow people to consume only the correct number of calories per day? What about how they drive? Or how many steps they take in a day? What is the line to be drawn?

            Most of the laws have nothing to do with protecting the common good, they are about protecting a revenue stream in the form of taxes or protecting an entrenched industry that has no incentive to change to meet consumer needs.

            A great example is that some states require a permit to become an interior decorator… Would that be for the common good? Others require that any company that wants to start a moving business has to get approval from other moving businesses.

            Are those for the common good?

          • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

            1. I’m not surprised, but, as I said, I know you.

            2. I wasn’t trying to single out spirits. Sorry if it seemed that way. Food and drugs are an important enough area that we have a complete department in the US government.

            3. There is a big difference between enforcing a maximum size of a cup at a restaurant and requiring calorie and nutrition information on labels. I think the former is overreaching while the latter is ensuring consumers have enough information.

            3a. We do regulate how people drive. A lot. You need a license. You have to stop at stop signs. You have to have insurance. You can’t drive drunk. I think these are all good things and I bet you agree. There are laws about using a cell phone, but no laws about what radio stations you listen to.

            What do the driving laws have in common? They protect both drivers and non-drivers alike by reducing the number of accidents.

            I’m not saying every law is good. Certainly, we have some bad laws. n the interior decorator law, I don’t know enough to have an opinion. It does seem silly. Some people want programmers to be licensed, which is insane because there is no universal definition of a programmer. Laws about moving companies might make sense if it’s an area with a lot of problems or fraud. I don’t know. A law requiring any particular business to get approval from competitors before starting doesn’t make sense to me.

            Laws that protect revenue streams of particular companies or individuals, by themselves, are a bad idea. However, the “by themselves” part hides a great deal of complexity. If a government has been charging businesses fees or taxes to operate, for whatever reason, it is not fair to then allow competitors to operate without the same fees or taxes. This gives an unfair advantage to the newcomer. The laws should be fair and that may mean charging the newcomer, or it could mean reducing or eliminating fees to existing businesses.

            You may not like taxes or fees on taxi companies, but things like this are popular with the citizenry because they affect out-of-towners more than locals. There’s nothing wrong with it being a revenue source for a city. If you don’t think it’s right, you should campaign against eliminating it for everybody, not just a few companies.

            Allowing newcomers to operate by skirting existing laws so that they have a better revenue structure is not only unfair, it is unethical. Just look at the case where Uber is saying that the laws that would have required them to have insurance for their drivers do not apply to their driver who killed a young girl. How does the question “Shouldn’t the consumer decide?” apply to that girl’s family? Their right to decide was taken away from them by an unlicensed taxi company that is now claiming no responsibility.

          • elbowman

            “2. Why are spirits a great example of regulations and not anything else? Shouldn’t the consumer decide?”

            Spirits are a great example because, ages ago, bootleggers made bad hootch, and it blinded and killed people. Laws were enacted to protect consumers. That didn’t stop bootlegging, but vendors who adhered to the law and produced a quality product were rewarded because customers knew they could be trusted.

            That was for the common good.

          • guest

            It is literally unbelievable that you have to spell out the reason for basic liquor regulations.

          • http://www.2barSpirits.com/ Nathan Kaiser

            True, they did. However, it was the Gov’t that caused far more worse damage:
            http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2010/02/the_chemists_war.html

            The bad hooch was produced during prohibition with the one goal of getting drunk. It was mostly due to bootleggers adding in methanol to the spirit.

            The gov’t doesn’t test spirits, it doesn’t review them, it only makes sure that you pay your taxes on time, which we are more than happy to do. Regulations may make you feel safer, but they often don’t help and in some cases cause worse damage.

  • guest

    Uh, yeah there’s already a “hackathon” for making laws – the legislature, the city council, the ballot initiative. Particularly in Washington, there are lots of ways for average consumers to be involved and have their voices heard.
    And guess what? That is happening now. You’re in the middle of it.
    The system is set up on purpose to change slowly. It can be a good thing for policy not to change with each new trend – competitors and consumers need stability and predictability.
    Is there a downside too? Yes. Could the laws use some updating? Yes, obviously. But the fact that the regulations aren’t giving you what you desire *right now* is not evidence that the system is not working.
    The Tesla thing is pretty clean-cut dumb, and should be changed. But the “ride-sharing” thing is WAY more nuanced.
    First of all, the whole “sharing economy” label here is window dressing. It’s just marketing. These aren’t some kind of digital buddy system. These are modern-day gypsy cabs. That’s all. UberX is recruiting drivers by saying it’s a $60,000 per year job in some places.
    They are also currently operating illegally. That is not up for debate – the laws of the state and city lay out how you can run a ride-for-hire business, and these aren’t there. So, the laws need to be updated for them to remain in business. So, they’re trying to get the laws changed. And they get to remain in business in the meantime! Nobody’s even shutting them down. Sounds pretty great to me. Where’s the fire?
    Nobody forced these guys to go into a notoriously heavily regulated market without getting themselves all squared away legally beforehand. They did it on their own, knew the risks, and this is the logical conclusion. If you’re that caught up in outrage on their behalf, surprise – you’re being used as a pawn in their lobbying program. I promise you, that’s how they see it.

  • elbowman

    I’m inclined to believe that just because someone comes up with a business that uses technology in a new way doesn’t mean they’ve come up with something new under the sun. Laws don’t need to get out of technology’s way. Technology imposed on an old business model needs to be legally implemented. Case in point is the cab and limo transport business. The laws in place got there because of failures within the original business model. We had cab companies overcharging customers. We had cab entrepreneurs providing poor products, dirty cabs, dirty cabbies, smoking in the car, etc. Cab companies with no, or insufficient, insurance to cover their customers in case of an accident. These are just a few of the problems that caused laws and regulations to be imposed on this industry.

    Just because you’re a geek with a business idea doesn’t mean you can circumvent the law that was established to protect customers and the industry itself.

    • https://www.LendingRobot.com LendingRobot

      Exactly. Most of the laws were put in place for good reasons (one can presuppose a few of them because of lobbying), and creating a law takes time, almost by definition, since it requires perspective.

      We, as startups, can lament about the obsoleteness of those ‘stupid’ laws, but I have yet to see one that indefinitely blocked progress.

    • http://www.2barSpirits.com/ Nathan Kaiser

      Can you answer why we need a three tier system when it comes to car manufacturers? Why should ride-sharing companies be illegal?

      The laws in place are usually archaic and are in some cases meant to protect legacy industries and aren’t to protect the public. That and they make a lot of money for the state in permits and fees.

      • elbowman

        I don’t think ride-sharing should be illegal. I just think it should adhere to the laws in place for cab companies, which they are with a new technology component added. Consumers and cab drivers need to be protected by the laws that are in place. They laws weren’t enacted without reason.

        I don’t think there has to be a three tier system for car manufacturers. But, until we can change the law there is.

        Looks like we need to vote for politicians who support our viewpoint, and lobby for laws that do the same.

        The answer is not simply wiping out a law, just because you have a new business idea.

    • sranger

      These laws just protect dealers profits… They offer NO advantage to the consumer and need to go…

    • pkop4

      Just because regulation exists doesn’t mean it’s protecting consumers. Are you really claiming that we need regulations to prevent cabs from overcharging, keeping their cars clean, smoking in car… e.g. providing a crappy product / service?? As if, without government regulation, the companies would have NO incentive to provide a high quality service to compete for customers? The ONLY reason this could possibly be true is if regulations effectively eliminated competition from the market. But the very issue being debated here is regulating Uber and ride sharing companies out of the the market.. this is madness. The market, having healthy competition, will provide the best product for consumers. Can you explain to me how you or anyone would possibly be forced to ride in a cab that is dirty or with a driver that provides bad customer service…. if you have a competing cab company ( or 2 or 3) that you could choose instead? And can you tell me how implementing regulations to limit this competition so as to benefit entrenched taxi industry participants would be better for consumers. The new, geeky business idea is successful BECAUSE they weren’t hindered by regulations, and they were motivated only by satisfying customer demand. This shit is so obvious, you liberals can’t help but to screw up a good thing.. ugh

      • elbowman

        I disagree! The ONLY issue being debated is not regulating Uber/Lyft/Etc out of business. There is an argument that these new businesses should not be exempt from the existing regulations in place for their type of business. They just cannot enter the marketplace and ignore the rules, or expect to be exempt while others doing business are not. It’s obvious you believe the rules should only apply, if you want them to. Being liberal has nothing to do with expecting a level playing field for everyone.

        • pkop4

          No, what I believe is those rules, limiting number of drivers, as well as high cost for taxi license, should never exist, for either uber other taxis or anyone. Period. How did uber lyft sidecar produce such a high quality service that consumers love despite not being regulated? In your world this isn’t possible. In the world of common sense and “leave me the hell alone don’t stick your nose in my business” it works just fine. It is working. If these politicians need to get together, because “something needs to be done” as it always seems to in their world… then make it a level playing field by removing the restrictions that taxis face and uber etc does not. Boom done. Seattle moves on with life and a successful business employing many and providing service for many gets to live on and operate at the same high level they have been. And you and I both know as a result taxis will have to up their game to compete. Win win for consumers. Based on your last response this should be satisfactory to you. But of course it won’t be because you’re a liberal and all you believe in is magical government know it alls to save us all from having choices of our own to make in the market place.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisamccoy Chris McCoy

    Want cultural progress, better living conditions, more access to the best info and people in the world, new business models like p2p, etc? Regardless of zip code and what side of the tracks you live on: Embrace technology.

    Seattle and Washington needs its own “Ed Lee”.

    Ed probably should have authorized more housing simultaneously as he re-zoned SF for commercial and gave tax breaks to high-tech startups (housing supply therefore cost of living therefore the gentrification situation in SF is a genuine problem), but his policies changed the region for the better for the next 100 years.

    I’m actually surprised one of the hands-on technology leaders of the NW haven’t run for mayor or governor yet.

    Regardless, luddite ideology won’t help us innovate any faster against cultural, geographic, political, and economic change. “Rent seeking” economics won’t either. Teaching kids like robots won’t either (will just get jobs replaced by robots).

    Seattle definitely needs leadership here. Writing letters is one thing but how about someone that actually understands technology progress run for something, then be the change they want to see happen in the community.

    Otherwise, this happens.

  • Alyce

    TNCs might build broader support if they can innovate a way that enables people without smart phones and/or credit cards to use their services.

  • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

    I think elbowman phrases it well. The ride-sharing companies are “using technology in a new way”. They are not technology companies any more than the Seattle Times is a technology company because they have a web site. They want you to believe they’re a tech company so you won’t just think of them as a fleet of unlicensed taxis, and so they can rally the tech community behind them. They knew about the laws they were going to be violating before they started. And now they’re complaining about them! I’m all for better transportation options, and it does seem like the existing laws need to be updated to reflect market changes, but the underlying reasons for the laws (like safety) still exist. And it takes time to change laws, again something they knew before they started their businesses.

    Tesla’s case is similar in some ways. In Washington, Tesla’s showrooms are legal right now, but the dealers want laws changed to ban them. That only protects dealers, not consumers. To me, the consumer interest is in making sure I can get my* Tesla serviced somewhere. If you sell them, then you need to make sure they can be repaired. As long as you ensure that, why should the government care about the structure of your business? That’s a marketplace issue, not a legislative issue.

    * The “my” is purely theoretical. I’d love one, though :)

    • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

      Good points, Roy. This: “They knew about the laws they were going to be violating before they started. And now they’re complaining about them!” makes me think of that startup/tech mentality tenet that sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Were ride sharing companies justified in that stance because they didn’t want the law to get in the way of their business and because they figured they could find support in anyone who likes the idea of the sharing economy? It’s a tricky question.

      • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

        I don’t think it’s a tricky question. And I don’t think they’re “ride sharing companies”.

        • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

          What do you call them?

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Taxis.

          • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

            I’d call them unlicensed taxi companies or unlicensed car-for-hire companies.

            In what way are they “ride sharing”? The drivers aren’t sharing a ride. They’re out looking for paying customers. When I was in college, there were bulletin boards with people who wanted to share rides to distant places. Sometimes you’d split expenses. That was ride sharing.

            If you go to the SF Bay Area, you can find places for casual ride sharing, especially across the bridges. Solo drivers pick up passengers (for free!) to enable them to use the carpool lane. That’s ride sharing. These companies, by the very definition of the phrase, are not ride sharing companies. They are taxis.

            I don’t like that they want to call themselves tech companies in order to get the tech community to get behind them. And I don’t like that they call themselves something they’re not in order to get people to support them.

            They may well be right that the transportation system could use innovation. But making a greater profit by breaking the law isn’t innovating.

    • Ex-msft

      There was an electric car startup that followed the dealership model, and it failed spectacularly – Fisker. They had separate dealers, and when the products failed to sell (and had some technical failures too), the company went out of business and the dealers all ended too.

      Dealerships absolutely won’t impact what happens to failing automobile companies. Tesla will succeed or fail on on its own; the only thing dealers can possibly do is limit Tesla’s ability to sell, they can only hurt their customers.

    • pkop4

      But their simple technical solution completely disrupted the taxi industry. Their technology enables a service that consumers love. Nobody cares about technology for technology’s sake, only that it helps to provide a better product to customers. Who cares if they are a technology company or a taxi company or whatever? Do you think a customer buying a ride from uber cares about whether you or anyone thinks they are a taxi company or technology company? No they care about getting good service for a good price. Which they are. Ensuring uber etc share in responsibility for safety of customers is good idea. Limiting their ability to grow and this limiting their ability to satisfy consumer demand for their service is not beneficial to consumers. These limitations should not be placed on über or any taxi company.

      • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

        Sure! Because they came up with a new way of securing cabs, existing laws shouldn’t apply to them. No inspections, no insurance, no limitations.

        Have a new way of cooking? You can open a restaurant without following health and restaurant regulations. You’re just “food sharing”.

        Invent a new drug? Start selling it to consumers directly without needing to follow any drug laws. You’re just “chemistry sharing”.

        Taking your last sentence at face value, feel free to argue that state and local laws regulating taxi companies should be reduced or eliminated. Contact your representatives, etc. But, as long as they exist, no company should be able to flaunt them with an excuse that they have some new technology.

  • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

    Just read the other post on GeekWire. If you didn’t read it yet, go read this linked-to piece in the NYT:

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/uber-and-a-childs-death/

    In short, an Uber driver killed a kid and Uber claims they have no responsibility at all. The driver was logged into the Uber system (if they were a taxi, they would be considered on duty) and they may have been using the app while driving. This is one reason why the “wild west” mode of operation doesn’t work.

  • sranger

    These dealer protection laws need to go. The dealer offers NO advantage to the consumer. Keep in mind that when you do battle with a dealer all you are negotiating is the dealer markup on the vehicle… NOTHING else…!!!!

    Why should we have to pay them ANYTHING to be annoyed at all of their sales scams…

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I worked on Capitol Hill in DC as an intern in college.

    I think the thing this article doesn’t address is the reality that established businesses and interests use their established relationships and influence to steer government regulation to protect their established interests.

    That’s not to say that all businesses and government officials are corrupt. But this is a definite part of the overall dynamics.

    That would sure seem to be the case regarding the Tesla situation.

    • elbowman

      Well stated. We’re all in it for our own selfish interests. You as a citizen can use your voice to do just that. Some involved in this discussion want laws voided to enhance their business. Some want the laws supported to protect them from those who would be unscrupulous. We all have a voice and a vote.

  • Carl Setzer

    Ultimately, law is a blunt instrument. For the conscientious legislator/council-person/governmental executive, trying to find the right blend of our society’s manifold interests and needs is exhausting. As frustrating as it may be, I lean towards being deliberative and thoughtful consideration when crafting laws.

    At a larger level, the tug-of-war between “innovation” and “tradition” has served our society well. Not every new thing, regardless of sparkliness, benefits society. Not every new thing destroys all that’s good and holy. This inelegant conflict brings out the best of both tradition and novelty.

    • http://moniguzman.com Monica Guzman

      Well put, Carl. As frustrating as all this can feel from any of a number of perspectives, it’s so important to recognize the cyclical nature of things, and that change needs time to make it past the bickering and soak in right.

  • Jeff O

    It is not about pace, but power.

    The legislative process is indeed less nimble than a tech start-up, but the primary impediment to sound policy on these issues is the entrenched power of the incumbents who face increased competition. Taxi medallion owners and car dealers don’t want to give up the rents from their exclusive legal right to offer rides and cars for sale. Not all consumer protection regulations protect incumbents rather than the public interest, but some do.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    The writer wants to make some point by lumping Tesla and UberX/Lyft/Sidecar together but they are completely different situations. It is not innovation for Sidecar Lyft UberX (SLUX) to be dumping uninsured vehicles on the street. That is actually going backwards.

    When anyone talks about the insurance gap or the fact that SLUX drivers are not covered for on-the-job injuries, the SLUX supporters try to change the subject to “innovation”, “technological disruption”, “sharing economy” and other corporate doublespeak. “Innovation” is really just a bright,shiny object that the SLUXers dangle in front of the audience as a distraction.

    • stevec77

      You mean SLUT don’t you? (Sidecar, Lyft, UberX, Tesla) Nice try, ClaimsAdjuster, but ridesharing services are not ‘dumping’ uninsured vehicles on the street. You’ve found a talking point with which to defend your industry’s penchant for protective regulation, nothing more. You’re sounding a bit defensive. If there is an actual insurance gap, then that is an easy fix. So, lets fix it and get on with the revolution. The context the writer framed her point with is spot on. Telsa and ridesharing are technically and authentically disruptive forces in the franchise auto sale model and the taxi service industry models.

      I think you, actually, are attempting to reframe her argument in an attempt to deflect the forces that threaten your industry. The business models that frame the insurance, taxi and auto sales industries can all be lumped together into ‘industries enjoying regulatory protection’ by, among other things appropriately here, artificially contrived barriers to entry. No matter, cause it’s all about to change. The games afoot, old boy, and when real disruption occurs, it’ll sweep all the old models out to sea. It’s coming.

  • Albert Sullivan

    Money talks, politicians listen. The instate campaign donors/ bribe giving interests get first choice.

  • kirk

    The issue with Tesla being blocked by dealers reminded me of a great podcast on NPR’s planet money. The podcast is how the creator of Cars Direct was blocked by local dealers and lobbying from selling cars online. I believe some of the same arguments are being used against Tesla, but in Cars Directs case, they lost. It is worth a listen.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/02/19/172402376/why-buying-a-car-never-changes

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