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What Sidecar's wild ride teaches about speed-to-market fierceness


Ellen Huet's recent article in Forbes on Sidecar's path from ride-share startup to delivery service highlights the importance of being able to speak to an industry's competitive dynamics in your interview.

To understand the significance of Sidecar's evolution, we need a bit of background. Founded in 2012, Sidecar was originally conceived as a ride-sharing competitor to Uber (founded in 2009) and Lyft (2012). But, in spite of the fact that Sidecar had first mover advantage in many concepts, it found itself outmaneuvered on capitalizing on these wins by both of its primary adversaries. Today, Sidecar is focused on deliveries instead of rides - an industry with competitors that includes both multiple startups (including Uber and Lyft) and established players (FedEx, for example).

Here's what Sidecar's evolution can teach us about how to prepare for an interview with Uber, for example:

  1. Look beyond Uber to understand its competitive market :: In this example, if you were interviewing at Uber, you'd want to be sure you could speak to a story about how Uber's scale or rapid roll-out of technology helped to put competitors like Sidecar at bay.
  2. Think about what Uber could learn from Sidecar's pivot :: For example, Sidecar pivoted quickly from a ride-share to delivery service. In an interview with Uber, this could be used as an example of the importance of being flexible with some aspects of the existing business model given how rapidly disruptive industries change. You could even close your interview with a question about how Uber has responded to pivots and what the company has learned through change.
  3. Highlight what you perceive as Uber's strengths from Sidecar's case study :: During your interview you could bring in examples of Uber's strength to close out your interview questions. For example, in your response to a question about your own strengths, you could round out your answer with something like "....and that's why I find Uber so impressive. Its strengths are rooted in an ability to change quickly in rapidly evolving industries. I'd look forward to being a part of figuring out how to accelerate growth through disruptive strategies."