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Though Uber has weathered a number of controversies this year, ranging from the legality of its practices to the toxicity of its company culture, there is no denying that the company, which turns seven today, has had a significant effect on the worlds of transportation, technology and business. Read on for how it has changed our perspective over the past seven years.
Our understanding of employment
One of the main controversies that the company has weathered is in regard to how to classifies the people it employs and how that differs across the world. In October of 2016, a U.K. court ruled that Uber drivers were employees, not contractors. However, the outcome of two class action lawsuits in California in April of 2016 found that the company could classify drivers as independent contractors.
The rise of the gig economy
A recent study conducted by McKinsey found that 20 to 30 percent of the working age population in the United States and Europe are involved in some form of independent work, due in large part to the ability to connect customers with services through digital platforms such as apps that companies like Uber live on.
How we talk about on demand
In Uber’s wake, a number of on-demand oriented startups have used the company to explain what they do to potential customers and investor. The Uber for X has been applied to everything from grocery and flower delivery to laundry and grooming services.
Related: 7 Times Uber Has Tracked People
The way we think about ownership
The company doesn’t own its fleet of vehicles. The cars belong to the drivers the company employs. In that same vein, in recent years Uber introduced several lease programs for its drivers. Kalanick has said in the past that a company goal is to reduce the number of cars on the road.
What we consider success
Led by Uber, the last few years have seen a major boom — particularly in 2015 — and subsequent dropping off of venture capital investment in on-demand companies. And while Uber has been valued at $70 billion, as of the winter of 2017, it was not yet profitable.