What it is: Lyft will be offering stock soon and they’re already looking towards the end of car ownership.
At one time, the auto industry worked 24 hour in three shifts, making cars because people wanted mobility. While some people in cities relied on mass transit, most people in North America relied solely on owning cars to get them from one place to another.
The problem with cars is the cost. It costs money to buy a car, it costs more money to maintain a car, it costs even more money to buy insurance and fuel for a car. As wages stagnant while car prices creep up, the cost of owning a car is starting to get higher than simply relying on other transportation services like ride sharing.
That’s why Lyft’s IPO filing is crucial because it highlights the future. Lyft isn’t in the car business. They’re in the transportation business. That’s a crucial difference. It’s like the difference between Netflix and Blockbuster Video.
Netflix wasn’t in the DVD business like Blockbuster Video was. Netflix was in the movie rental business. Right from the start, Netflix targeted streaming video but they relied on mailing DVDs in the meantime until the future caught up with their vision.
The same is happening with Lyft. They know they’re in the transportation business whether it relies on cars, scooters, bikes, or other forms of transit. Car makers like General Motors and Ford have relied far too long on selling cars and trucks. Auto makers are even cutting back on cars and focusing on trucks and SUVs because that’s far more profitable.
Yet the future is clear. Transportation is needed, not car ownership any more than people want to buy their own private plane to fly somewhere.
Lyft, Google, Uber, and Apple are looking towards the future of self-driving, electric cars, and ride-sharing services. Focus on the future and you’ll wind up dominating it like Netflix. Focus on the past and you’ll wind up obsolete like Blockbuster Video.
Ride-sharing may not replace car ownership today, but it will tomorrow and tomorrow is coming faster than you might think. Just ask Blockbuster Video.