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My view on what's going on in the financial markets and the global economy, and a few other things that might interest me from time to time.

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  • Writer's

Lyft’s Philosophy is Different than Uber's (and others)

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

I just watched a 7-minute interview on CNBC with John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. Recall that Lyft went public earlier this year, selling shares at $72.00/share ($24.3 bln market cap, NASDAQ) on March 28th. The shares closed yesterday (Nov 20th) at $43.95/share, down nearly 39% since the company’s IPO. And to put this in perspective, UBER completed its IPO several weeks later on May 10th listing its shares at $45.00 / share (circa $82 bln market cap, NYSE), and the shares closed yesterday at $28.03/share, down 38% since its IPO. In other words, both of these ride-sharing companies have been crushed since they listed their shares. I have done no more work on these two names other than listen to this interview and read about each company from time to time, and I do not own shares in either company. There are probably loads of differences as far as their commercial operations, but the two things that I latched on to mostly in this short interview, especially following the WeWork failed IPO and pending operational restructuring, were: 1. Mr. Zimmer said that he is forced to focus much more on bottom-line profitability now that Lyft is a public company (makes sense of course), and 2. Lyft is a consumer transportation company, nothing more at this stage, and it is very U.S.-centric. The second point especially resonated with me because it means that Lyft will not drift down dark alleys where it has uncertain visibility / knowledge and little competitive advantage, such as food delivery or foreign markets, until it can successfully bed down – and I presume turn a profit – on its core business in its core market. (As an aside, note that both Uber and Lyft are apparently investing heavily in automated cars.) The chaotic “expansion” strategy of WeWork as a late stage unicorn, when this company’s management became intoxicated with more money than they knew what to do with, is a lesson learned. And in spite of Uber’s much larger geographic and operational remit at the moment, perhaps Lyft’s strategy of trying to first make money in a core market it knows best before deciding how to grow from there is a smarter approach. @cnbc #lyft #uber #ipos #unicorns

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