Cinco Preguntas para Uber Centroamérica | Estaban Roberts MBA 2013

A continuación tenemos cinco preguntas para Esteban Roberts, Gerente de Operaciones y Logística en Uber Centroamérica. Esteban se graduó de INCAE con honores en 2013. Era presidente del INCAE MBA Oath Club en el campus de Costa Rica y sigue apoyando el club como miembro vitalicio. Ha trabajado en Uber desde 2015.

  1. Uber has been faced with quite a bit of controversy in the past few months. Are the issues that Uber headquarters is dealing with having an impact on your region?

Yes, of course, but in a positive way.  I believe one of the things that defines a great company is how does it handle a crisis. In that regard I am personally proud of the decision by Uber to hire the former Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, to do an independent investigation of the problems at Uber, and to issue recommendations that included holding senior leaders accountable and reformatting values. All of Holder’s recommendations have been adopted by Uber.

  1. What is Uber’s mission?

There are several ways to say it, but the one I personally like the best is: “To make transportation as reliable as running water.”

  1. Give us a couple of interesting statistics about Uber. 

One of my favorite statistics is that here in Central America we now have 25,000 active Uber drivers. Another statistic I like is that we have 6 Incaistas working for management in Central America. But looking at Uber and its global impact on revolutionizing the nature of transportation, it took more than 4 years to get to 1 billion rides and then it took us only one year to double that to 2 billion rides. In the last year we have gone to a total of 5 billion rides. I’m proud to part to be part of that global revolution those numbers stand for, bringing economic opportunities to more than 2 million drivers worldwide and getting millions of riders home in a safe and reliable manner.

  1. Part of Uber's expansion strategy, which has been both criticized and applauded, is to enter markets and wait for local regulators to catch up. What about the ethics of that?

Technology and innovation will always precede regulations. It’s impossible that a regulation based on traditional models can predict newer models so what we are left with are voids or simply lack of regulations. We always try to talk to regulators and explain the positive impact that 21st century ride-sharing models have in our cities and now more than 132 jurisdictions have passed new regulations across the globe. How does a manager handle the complex ethical issues that arise from that type of situation? Let me just say that I feel my training at INCAE prepared me well for this. Susan Clancy’s Ethics courses and my experiences in the MBA Oath Club, where our motto is “Ethics is Awareness,” gave me different tools and frameworks for analyzing these types of situations, and that is one of the things I am most grateful for from my INCAE education.

  1. Tell us something about Uber we don’t know.

Well, let me share another statistic that came out in a  news article about Austin, Texas. According to the news article, before Uber came to Austin there was an average of 525 drunk driving arrests in Austin per month. After Uber came to Austin the number gradually fell to 358 a month as people had more ways of getting home when they had been drinking too much and would be a danger on the road if they drove. In 2016 both Uber and our main competition, Lyft, made the decision to pull of Austin because of issues with the regulators there. Now the average number of drunk driving arrests is up to 476 but since Uber and Lyft returned to Austin this past June we will probably see those numbers go down again. That’s just one example that I like of the sometimes unexpected positive effects that can come if you strive to make transportation as reliable as running water.

Escrito por: Esteban Roberts (MBA 2013) Gerente de Operaciones y Logística en Uber Centroamérica.

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