Networking with Uber.


I love Uber. I first used it in Chicago on Memorial Day Weekend this year.

I used to work at JWT Chicago in the Hancock Building. I felt the power of working in a 100 story building in my early 30’s. The lights of the city were always on.

When we hosted client lunches on the 95th floor I felt that I could see my hometown Toronto.

The office was founded in 1891 I was told. Twenty years after the Chicago Fire.

Unfortunately JWT Chicago closed a few years ago in the New Normal.

A friend of mine that I was visiting ordered an UberX car. When I lived in Chicago I loved the fact that cabs were aplenty. Just like my home town Toronto. Cabs and public transportation are the perfect combination in an urban environment and I mostly took the former because of the daily cost and the convenience.

Not that way now where I live in Southern OC. I drive to places I should walk to.

So I started my first Uber networking journey. Many people would think, that is an oxymoron but I have learned a long time ago that networking isn’t about going to an event.  Networking is about an attitude of engagement in your daily life.

The best way of learning and confirming the truth of the world is by talking to people rather than watching polarized sound bite news.

I was sitting up front and I asked the young driver how long she had been an Uber Driver. “A few months,” she said as we passed a newly gentrified area that I didn’t know when I lived in Chicago.

“I worked in a dead end job and I was bored,” she said. “This is a better way to meet a lot of people and make more money and control my own schedule.”

I sensed the pleasure of not having your mind atrophy.

A couple of days later I checked out of my hotel to go to O’Hare and requested an Uber car on my iphone Uber app. Since I was outside a hotel on the North Shore of Chicago, I was being honked at by every cab and limo driver that passed me.

They now seemed a little obsolete to me as I looked at the progress of my Uber Driver on my phone but I could feel their need to earn a living.

“I’ m just waiting on a friend.” I said. Then I popped into his Toyota Camry when he arrived. He opened the back door which gave me a clue where I should Uber sit.

My Uber driver told me on the way to O’Hare that he was from the Middle East.  I guess its because my family lived in Beirut and Jerusalem that I always hear the voice of that part of the world even though I have never lived there. It is constantly a sad voice that makes me lament.

“What do you do I asked.”

“I am an IT guy, Seventeen years at the same company” he responded.  How many people can say that?

“How long have you been driving for Uber?  A few weeks.  “My son is going to college and I need some extra money.”

“What’s your split with Uber I asked?   I was surprised at his response.  He got the majority of the money.

I was speaking at a Digital Marketing Conference in Minneapolis recently and I took an Uber Car to the Airport.

“What do you do,” I asked?  “I am a Worship Minister. I drive because my day job doesn’t pay too much money.”

I learned that if he drives the 9PM to 2AM shift Uber pays him $21 an hour even if he doesn’t make that much in fares. Uber wants drivers on the road. Smart I thought.

So much for the battle that increasing the minimum wage will ruin the economy. I was thinking if his shift was a good time for a Worship Minister to save souls?  Do we all have one night stands of redemption and repenting?

Have you downloaded your Uber app?

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