Monday, February 06, 2017

Puff And The Magic Dragons' Den : .....It Couldn't Happen....Could It ?

Found this on a facebook forum, made me chuckle while also getting the point across....Written by Andrew Peters From Hove.

Hello Dragons..
I am asking for a few million to start up a new cab service for 10% equity...

The business model:
I intend to get the business going by pushing the boundaries of the law.. although we don't really like using the word 'boundaries' because we do not think there should be any 'boundaries' in what we are trying to achieve.. which is global domination of the taxi trade.

Dragon: So you are going to be a taxi company.

Me: No I am going to create a technology company

Dragon: Sorry... I do not understand? You are going to be offering a taxi service to the public?

Me: No.. I am not offering a taxi service to anyone. I want to 'reach out' by offering the technology to connect the public to taxis around the world.

Dragon: So you are going to be a global taxi company?

Me: No.. I want to offer a platform that people who own taxis can connect with the public.

Dragon: So you want to be a global company offering a taxi service?

Me: No... I want to offer a platform that people who own taxis can connect with the public.

Dragon: Ok.. let me put it another way. You want to offer a service where people use your technology to order a taxi.

Me: Yes
Dragon: So you want to be a global taxi company?
Me: No

Dragon: Sorry.. I am getting a little bit lost here. You want to provide a service via your technology so people can get a taxi.

Me: Yes

Dragon: Isn’t that what taxi companies do?
Me: Yes

Dragon: So you are going to do the same?

Me: Yes

Dragon: So you ‘are’ going to be a taxi service..albeit with a bit of 'technology'?

Me: Well.. yes and no.

Dragon: Which part is ‘Yes’ and which part is ‘No’

Me: Yes it is technology. No it is not a taxi service..

Dragon: Mmmmm. We are talking about actual taxis aren’t we. You know the ones that can be hailed in the streets and sit on ranks. The ones that are referred to as hackney carriages?

Me: No... Private hire cars

Dragon: Ahh......ok so we are now getting somewhere.. You are going to be a Private Hire Operator

Me: No... a technology company

Dragon: So you will not need a Private Hire Operators licence in the UK for each area you want to be in.

Me: Yes

Dragon: This is really confusing??? So you will need a Private Hire Operators licence even though you say you are not going to be a Private Hire Operator?

Me: Yes

Dragon: Ok.. let’s move on here... You want us to give you a few million.

Me: Yes
Dragon: What do you intend to do with a few million?

Me: Invest it..
Dragon: So you want us to give you a few million for you to invest?

Me: Yes

Dragon: Interesting.... where will you invest it

Me: In online discount voucher codes

Dragon: Sorry.... I am not following this... it appears that you are simply giving away my money?

Me: Yes

Dragon: But anyone can give away money if it doesn’t belong to them.

Me: Yes this is true but this should be regarded as a big investment for you.

Dragon: I am really sorry... but I am totally lost here. If we give you a few million which you then give away.... then how does that equate to being an investment for us?

Me: Because by offering big discounts to people who use our technology to ‘connect’ to a taxi.......

Dragon: ..... you mean a private hire vehicle?

Me: Yes sorry.... Because by offering big discounts to people who use our technology to ‘connect’ to a private hire vehicle we can undercut any opposition.

Dragon: I see... so you would like us to be involved in an illegal practice of what is known as “Predatory Pricing”

Me: What’s that?

Dragon: Well here is a free lesson for you. ‘Predatory Pricing’ occurs when a firm sells goods or service at a price below cost (or very cheaply) with the intention of forcing rival firms out of business. Once the rival firms are no longer around then Predatory company put up the prices even to the extent of actually raising the prices far above any previous price that the now long lost rival company was charging.

Me: Yeah... good init...

Dragon: Mmmmm ... ok... now putting that aside I think you are going to need more than a few million

Me: Spot on!

Dragon: So... you would want me to then give you a few more million?

Me: Possibly... but I intend to go international so I will be looking for a lot more ‘investors’ to give me more money

Dragon: How many investors?

Me: Oh loads more because it is going to take time. But we know that as we keep giving the discount codes away then eventually the rivals will disappear and then we will be the only private hire service!

Dragon: Hold on! Private hire service????

Me: Sorry.. yes.. got confused there... We will be the only technology company that the public will have to use to ‘connect’ with a private hire vehicle. Can we call them ‘cabs’ please

Dragon: Ok... we can call them cabs... Tell us more about the drivers

Me: Who?

Dragon: The drivers.. you know the drivers of those cabs
Me: Oh them... yes .. the drivers on our ‘platform’ , What would you like to know?

Dragon: Well how do these drivers on your ‘platform’ make any money

Me: We charge 25% of each journey... at the moment...
Dragon: At the moment?

Me: Yes... at the moment... but we will more than likely increase this when we have the full monopoly... and we will also have ‘Surge Pricing!”

Dragon: Explain Surge Pricing?

Me: This is where we can randomly boost the cost of a cab journey.... whenever we like. We can put the price up to double.. triple..quadruple .. or however much we want.. whenever we want.....if it rains... if it is windy... rush hour... slow hour.. you name it.. we’ll Surge Price it....

Dragon: Can you stop rubbing your hands please...

Me: Sorry

Dragon: So unlike local councils who control the price of hackney carriage taxi fares to protect the public your type of pricing is completely the opposite... you raise the prices when you think fit?

Me: Yep.. you got it...

Dragon: But why would the public use you and your ‘Surge Pricing’ when they could use cabs with controlled prices?

Me: Ahh.. but that is the beauty of it all.. You give me a few million so I can subsidise the fares with your money... which means we can undercut fares some of the time and it will eventually wipe out the competition!!

Dragon: Ok... but going back to what I was previously saying that I think you are going need more than a few million from us. In fact it looks like you will need billions!

Me: Yes! Exciting isn’t it! But that is not all!

Dragon: Go on...

Me: Some of that money is in fact also going into a sideline project...

Dragon: Oh good... I thought it was just one venture... tell me more..

Me: We are developing ..... self driving cars!

Dragon: Mmmmm interesting. So that means we can swap our own cars for self driving ones?

Me: No.. not at all... We are going to have self driving tax..... sorry... cabs

Dragon: So what happens to all those drivers who are now on your platform..

Me: Who?

Dragon: The drivers! The ones which more than likely left the old taxi/private hire companies that are now linked to your ‘technology’

Me: Oh them.! They will be off the ‘platform’ once we get those self driving cabs rolled out.

Dragon: So you don’t feel that you have any responsibility to those drivers who are contributing to your intended worldwide domination?

Me: Absolutely not! It’s not as if they are employees with rights!

Dragon: Mmmmmm.. What happens if you do not get enough drivers on to your ‘platform’ in one area?

Me: Easy... we get drivers to come and work from another area.. simples!

Dragon: But surely each area has different conditions of licensing

Me: And???

Dragon: You dont see that as an issue?

Me: Nope!

Dragon: Ok... Now going back to my investment...

Me: Yes!

Dragon: Can you please stop rubbing your hands...

Me: Sorry

Dragon: I do not see that I would ever get my money back within my own lifetime... Also.. it looks like there would need to be hundreds .. if not thousands of other investors that would need to be throwing money at this... which for all intentions and purposes looks like a very... very deep money pit....

I think that you may do alright in the short term. However.. the long term is a completely different issue.

I predict that you will eventually be confronted with unhappy investors becoming impatient to see a return from the investment.

I foresee your drivers having to work excessive hours with your intention to raise the commission rate although more probably you will still have enough new drivers coming in as the old exhausted drivers drop out.

I can foresee numerous legal challenges to your business model as you push the boundaries in forcing changes to statutory regulations to suit your business.

With regard to ‘Self Driving Cars’ I think you are living on a different planet. I believe that this is just a ruse and a plaything for you to give the appearance to your ‘investors’ that they should keep holding on to the hope that such technology will be result in a massive return on the billions that has been poured on you.

Taking all of this into consideration I think I can speak on behalf of the rest of the Dragons when I say..

“We’re out”

Can I call you a taxi?

With a thanks to Lee Ward. 


Alan King said...

Absolutely Brilliant

Tony Casey said...

Very well written Lee,this could be understood by any local authority considering
Uber wishing to obtain a License in their Town or City.This should be used as a Template on our behalf,throughout the uk and the World.

Alan Wicker said...

so, why have our Licencing Authority and all of the Bodies, in positions of Power, Influence and Enforcement, accepted the ME argument above, in its entirety?

Anonymous said...

Blinding post our Wardy . Send this to Andrew Lloyd Webber mate. We'll get a musical made out of it as well !

Anonymous said...

I have seen that episode with my wife at the time when I was still doing the knowledge I told my wife if this guy find an a doggie investor then I am just wasting my time and this exactly what happened

Anonymous said...

All jokes aside, this post is absolute brilliance and should be submitted to a national newspaper. Lee Ward has totally encapsulated the principles and logic that Uber have used to launch their deceptive ruse. The most incredible part of the story though is how all these globally respected big firms have stood for it. How I would love to see Goldmann Sachs knocked at the end of it. Wouldn't that be great?
Lee, well done our kid. Many people don't realise the difficulties and writing ability required to deliver a piece like that. I do, and I'm envious !
Be lucky mate.

Anonymous said...

this should be sent to EVERY MP with the question:

WHY has this been allowed to happen?

lee ward said...

Guys, please read the post again, this WAS NOT MY WORK....

I copied it from a taxi forum on facebook as stated and it was written by a Mr Andrew Peters from York

I think the comments are great and well deserved, but I take nothing for this post, the work was all down to Mr Peters.