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Uber and Natural Selection

By Fernando Crespo Nuñez

Hundreds of thousands of years ago polar bears were brown.

But one day, a small, absolutely random change occurred in the genetic instructions passed to one of the offspring.

The mutation altered the gene that controlled production of the pigment responsible for the bear’s dark fur color.

That bear’s white color was passed down to its descendants. Their ‘camouflage’ allowed them to get much closer to their prey – that is to say, they had a big competitive advantage.

That’s how over generations, the white fur gene spread to the entire polar bear population, while the dark fur gene disappeared.

Evolution by natural selection. That’s how it works with species. The question is:  is it the same with companies?

One day, in a not so random occurrence, the products that had made Kodak a market leader for a century were no longer competitive. First, digital cameras emerged, then smartphones with a built-in camera. Now when people think photography they think Instagram, not the legendary, warm-hued logo that captured the best moments of our childhood.

The same happened with Blockbuster, Blackberry and many other brands that failed to see the white bears encroaching on their markets.

Today Uber is the paradigm of a changing mindset that is impacting an entire industry and perhaps change the way we live. It is posing a question that hadn’t occurred to us until very recently: Do we really need to have our own car?

Meanwhile, the brown bears in Germany ban the company in their market, those in France burn its cars and jail its executives, those in Brazil protest, and those in other countries where Uber is not yet present are lobbying so it doesn’t dare come near.

They think they’ll be able to halt evolution.

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