What auditioning for the role of an OCD Germaphobe taught me about Digital Cooperatives


Before a recent trip to London, a kind person who knows me well suggested that I stay safe in coronatimes by auditioning for the role of an OCD Germaphobe.

This led me to break the habit of a lifetime of relying on the Tube/London Underground to get around.

So I was more reliant on taxis on this visit to London. I had never got the Uber habit. So I decided to make a research project out of my personal needs. I look at Lyft and it looked like it was almost exactly the same as Uber. I like the black cabs but wanted an app to get me one, not just hoping for an available light cruising by.

So I booked via Gett App. It was a good experience. The app worked like any other geolocation booking app. The taxi was a modern electric black cab – clean and quiet and good for the planet. I asked the driver what he thought and he said OK but the 20% commission was a bit high. They may even take 20% of the tip. I asked about alternatives. He mentioned Hailo with a 15% commission (which seems to be struggling). I asked what he would really like customers to use. He mentioned Taxiapp which is a Cooperative owned by the drivers ie zero commission.

Winning in the marketplace is hard as ventures like Maaxi show us; plenty of capital, great concept, lousy traction in the real world. I believe that we all need to be producers before we are consumers – in order to spend money as consumers – but I understand that most of us simply think about how we spend our money and not how the person  serving us makes money. So maybe Uber wins and black cabs and cooperatives fall into the dustbin of history.

I hope not. I have been a fan of “digital cooperatives” since articulating the concept here. I have found use cases in food delivery and dentists. Now I can add taxis to this list of use cases.

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