Uber Driver Teaches me Data Analytics

An Uber Driver this past week schooled me that data analytics does not require coding.

A Random Uber Ride

I needed to run downtown this past week and Uber’s time to a ride was 10 minutes faster than Flywheel. I do try to give the cabs my business if I can, but it’s a supply and demand thing. If I can wait, fine. That day I was in a rush. As usual, I chat with the driver. “How’s business?” I always ask. I tell you, if cabbies (and Uber drivers) are busy then folks are parting with their cash to run around. If they are quiet, our economy is quiet. That’s my theory anyway. So this guy was pretty smart, we’re talking about San Francisco and he comments that he’ll drop me downtown and loop back to the Marina. He said “this time of day there’s no pickups downtown, but the Marina and Cow Hollow will have lots.” He picked me up in Cow Hollow. I asked him how he knew that.

What He Told Me Schooled Me - Big Time

He said he’d been driving Uber for about six months. At first he struggled, always seeming to be in the wrong place. But then he started doing screen shots of the app. A lot. He said like every few minutes. The drivers app shows where the callers are. Graphically.

He took those screenshots and imported them in time order into the video editoring software he uses (he told me he’s an amateur videographer). He then played those videos to see where the concentrations of calls were across the city, across the day. He kept doing this across both weekdays and weekends and observed where the clusters of calls were. And he started making money, staying as busy as he wanted to be.

I laughed. A data driven Uber driver! And he didn’t write a single damn line of code.

It’s a data driven world folks. It’s easy for techies like me to automatically assume the software approach. But even if you can’t code you can do it, if you have the right mindset. It’s about HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

A lesson worth thinking about as I head into a New Year.

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year everyone. May 2019 bring us all health and happiness!