March 2 – Talk By NDLS Grad, Uber’s Director of Public Policy

On Thursday, March 2, the CDO is hosting a video conference with Colin Tooze, who is an NDLS grad as well as the Director of Public Policy of Uber.

Here is the link to more information:

Interestingly, there has been discussion in the news about how many Uber employees formerly worked in politics on Capitol Hill.  In that respect, it is interesting to see that there may be some overlap between law and entrepreneurship.

Uber has found itself as the subject of entrepreneurial controversy. On the one hand, it creates jobs and fills a niche gap in the market. On the other hand, it may not be the safest travel option for riders and for drivers and may create negative externalities such as “clogging the streets.” It’s also been cited as having a “broken company culture.”

Actually, it seems to me that, at least at the surface, characteristics of Uber drivers actually parallel traits of entrepreneurs. For example, Uber drivers can create their own hours, use their own resources (their cars), and accept as many or as few clients as they see fit. Still, they are not truly “working for themselves,” even though their ability to choose their own hours creates that illusion of flexibility and independence. Additionally, we may see caps on how many hours Uber drivers can work in the future, which is again rebuffs the idea that Uber drivers are similar to entrepreneurs, despite the parallels that exist on the surface. Moreover, Uber drivers are “classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, which could protect Uber from liability.”

Perhaps Colin Tooze will speak on these issues at the video conference on Thursday.

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