A Useful Reminder


My wife has recently moved back into a full-time job, so we’ve been reworking a lot of the arrangements we’ve had in place to get ourselves and our two kids to the right places at the right times. We don’t generally want to spend unnecessary money on cabs or car services, but last night at dinner we were talking about Tuesdays, where our work schedules and the kids’ afterschool and piano lessons create a tight schedule, and the role that green cabs (a godsend) or a car service could play there.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about Uber recently,” she said.

Having watched the recent Uber kerfluffle evolve over the past few days on Twitter, blogs, the my other standard online news sources, I prepared myself.

“People seem to like it a lot. Do you think it’s worth trying?”

I was floored. After days of what seemed to me like nonstop coverage of what was (putting everything else aside) a public relations disaster for Uber, my wife had seen and heard absolutely nothing about it.

In recent years I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid getting too immersed in the tech scene, and I no longer find it surprising if a friend mentions a company, or huge news about a company, that I know little or nothing about. But the Uber situation felt to me like it was well beyond that stage, like it was common knowledge. And it really, really isn’t. Today I’ve asked half a dozen people at the publishing company where I work about Uber, several of them focused on the online side of the business, and only two had even the most basic idea of what I was talking about.

It doesn’t seem like a problem to me that my wife doesn’t know about the Facebook Groups app, or that Airbnb is starting a magazine, but in this case the gap between geek common knowledge and normal common knowledge is just a little unsettling.

And just for the record, none of the people I talked to today had even heard of the USA Freedom Act.