How Uber is Democratizing the Automobile, with Peter Diamandis

Uber is an example of an exponential company that harness technology to revolutionize whole industries.

Peter Diamandis:  We’re living in a day where as an individual, as a leader, as an entrepreneur you have access to extraordinary technologies. Technologies that were only available to the largest companies and governments just 20 years ago. We’re in a world where you can touch, impact, and sell products to today 2.5 billion, in five years 7 billion people. All of planet Earth is likely to be connected with a megabit connection. The way that you lead, the way that you start companies needs to be different because your ability to impact the world is far different. Your access to exponential technologies, computers, networks, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, synthetic biology on the technology front. On the tools front, crowdfunding, $15 billion per year in 2015. Up to 100 billion a year by 2020. Crowdsourcing, the ability to get access to any expertise you want and finally incentive competition is the ability to have the crowd help you solve your problems. These are the tools that we have as leaders today to go after the world’s biggest problems.


One exponential company, one exponential leader is Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber. And if we look at Uber as a company, what is it effectively doing? It’s demonetizing and dematerializing cars. When Uber has its full vision implemented, you don’t need a car anymore. That car has dematerialized onto an app on your phone. When you need a car, you click on the app and a car shows up and takes you where you want to go. Today there’s a driver in it. I know that Travis’ future plans are for it to be, you know, autonomous and then [it] gets very cost-effective. And all of a sudden you don’t need cars. Cars are something that’s a digital asset you can call on demand and you can use whatever kind of car you want. And of course this demonetizes a car. You don’t put up $30,000 or $40,000 for a car up front, which, by the way is idle 96 percent of the time. You use a car by the drink when you need it. Very much like cloud computing. You don’t buy a whole room of servers. You use Amazon web services when you need it on a per, you know, process basis.

So imagine when these physical things become dematerialized and demonetized. And all of a sudden it’s democratized because people who could not afford a car before can now afford access to an autonomous Uber or wherever Travis takes it down the line. And when an exponential leader can think at this scale to say, "Okay, how do I take a product to service, which was only available for the wealthy few and be able to digitize it, dematerialize it, demonetize it, and democratize it and make it available not for a million, but for a billion people? All of a sudden — even if you dropped the price tenfold, if your markets gone up a thousand fold, you’re making a hundred times more money. And this is the future we’re living into. And this is the kind of mindset that an exponential leader needs to have when they look at their business.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton



Today's entrepreneurs have access to an unprecedented amount of technological resources that as few as 20 years ago were reserved only for the largest and most powerful companies. These kinds exponential technologies make it possible to impact and sell to billions of people. As part of Big Think's collaboration with Singularity University on Exponential Leadership, Peter Diamandis explains how exponential entrepreneurs who take advantage of these technologies are able to revolutionize entire industries. He employs Uber as an example of an exponential company forever changing the way we perceive car ownership. Diamandis is the executive chairman of Singularity University and co-author of Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World.

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