DoorDash, Uber Eats... and Tony | The Vergecast

DoorDash, Uber Eats... and Tony | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce, the host of the Vergecast, shares his experience with different types of headphones and his search for "non-headphone headphones".
  • He mentions testing smart glasses, bone conduction headphones, and other alternatives to traditional in-ear headphones.
  • Pierce expresses his excitement for the upcoming show, which will feature a delivery story and a discussion about Rivian's new car launches.
  • Will, a member of the Verge team, went to Seattle to meet a person who is independently competing with Uber Eats and DoorDash in the delivery industry.
  • The story promises to be entertaining and engaging.
  • Rivian recently launched two new cars that have generated significant excitement.
  • Pierce admits that he doesn't fully understand the company or the reasons behind its perceived potential for success, as there seems to be limited evidence to support it.
  • The show will delve into this topic and explore the reasons behind Rivian's popularity.
  • The show will also address a question received from the hotline.

Tony vs the delivery apps (00:02:06)

  • DoorDash and Uber Eats have drawbacks, including higher meal prices, insufficient pay and benefits for delivery workers, and low profitability for the companies.
  • In Seattle, a higher pay rate for app-based delivery workers led to increased fees for customers and reduced demand for app-based food delivery services.
  • Tony, a former Uber Eats driver, started his own delivery service offering a flat delivery fee of $5 with no additional charges or commissions.
  • Tony's unique approach to delivery has gained attention and support, highlighting the challenges faced by gig workers and the impact of regulations on the food delivery industry.
  • Tony believes the current state of delivery services lacks a personal touch and aims to create a more friendly connection with customers by stripping away technology and anonymity.
  • Tony emphasizes the importance of limiting the number of customers he serves to maintain meaningful relationships and provide personalized service.
  • Despite being cheaper and often faster than competitors, Tony's main focus is on providing a high-quality delivery experience that goes beyond speed and cost.
  • Tony's approach has gained recognition from customers who value the personal touch and friendly interactions he brings to the delivery process.
  • Tony's success has attracted interest from people across the country who want to replicate his model, leading him to consider how he can positively impact the gig economy and provide guidance to others.
  • Tony's popularity highlights the desire for more human interaction and personalized experiences in the delivery industry, challenging the dominance of app-based services.
  • DoorDash CEO Tony Xu emphasizes the importance of convenience and accessibility in the food delivery industry and aims to make food delivery a seamless and enjoyable experience for both customers and restaurants.

State of Rivian w/Andy Hawkins (00:16:19)

  • Rivian, an electric vehicle (EV) startup, launched new models like the R2 and R3 crossover, targeting popular segments like pickup trucks and large SUVs.
  • Despite initial excitement and investments from Amazon and Ford, Rivian's production and sales have fallen short of expectations, leading to financial challenges.
  • The company's focus on pure electric vehicles without a diverse revenue stream makes it vulnerable to market fluctuations.
  • Rivian's founder, RJ Scaringe, presented a polished image in contrast to Elon Musk, attracting attention and interest.
  • The broader electric vehicle industry is experiencing a slowdown in sales growth and investment pullback, with challenges in charging infrastructure and consumer adoption.
  • Rivian's current vehicles are too expensive for most people, so they are introducing the R2, a more affordable mid-size SUV priced at $45,000, to fill a gap in the market.
  • The R2's production is not expected to start until early 2026, raising concerns about its relevance in a rapidly evolving EV market.
  • Rivian's R1T and R1S electric vehicles have a dedicated fan base and are generally well-received, but the software experience is considered lacking compared to competitors.

Rivian vs Tesla (00:30:41)

  • Rivian's growth has attracted individuals who believe in sustainable transportation but are disillusioned with Tesla and Elon Musk.
  • Rivian aims to capture the mass market with its R2 model, similar to Tesla's Model 3, targeting the 90% of the market that has yet to adopt electric vehicles.
  • Despite Tesla's initial struggles, its success came from the popularity of the Model 3 and its ability to scale production, while Rivian faces challenges due to the slowdown in EV sales growth.
  • Rivian's branding and communication style resembles Apple, emphasizing optimism, friendly design, and innovation, leading to speculation about a potential acquisition by Apple.
  • Rivian's R3 stands out with its distinctive retrofuturistic design, evoking nostalgia for classic hatchbacks and offering a sense of individuality in a sea of generic-looking EVs.
  • Other companies like Scout Motors are also introducing EVs with more distinctive designs, pushing back against the trend of generic-looking electric vehicles.
  • Rivian plans to revive an old brand and make it an all-electric vehicle, while Ford considers electrifying the Bronco.
  • The midsize SUV space is becoming crowded with new electric crossovers, and Rivian needs to differentiate its vehicles and establish itself before the market becomes saturated.
  • Tesla has a significant lead in the electric vehicle market, and Rivian needs to execute well with its R2 model to avoid falling behind.

Rivian’s financial challenges (00:40:40)

  • Rivian is experiencing financial difficulties, losing $47,000 for every vehicle sold, and its cash reserves are dwindling.
  • The company's vehicle sales are below expectations, and it is now demand-constrained rather than supply-constrained, with high prices and competition from used Teslas affecting demand.
  • Rivian aims to achieve profitability in Q4 of this year, but it's unclear whether this will be on an earnings or operational basis.
  • Pausing the factory expansion plan may expedite the release of the R2 model, which is expected to be Rivian's high-volume seller, while the R3 will be a niche product.
  • Rivian faces potential competition from established automakers like Ford, Jeep, and Subaru, who are also developing electric vehicles, with Jeep posing a significant threat due to similarities in customer base and vehicle offerings.
  • Rivian's success depends on its ability to maintain a first-mover advantage by launching its R2 model within the promised timeframe.

The future of EVs (00:46:07)

  • China's potential to sell cheap electric vehicles in the US looms over the industry.
  • BYD, China's biggest automaker, plans to build a factory in Mexico.
  • Tariff and policy situations make it challenging for Chinese-made EVs to enter the US market.
  • Automakers are adopting Tesla's charging infrastructure, including superchargers and charging ports.
  • Federal EV tax credit can now be claimed at dealerships, providing a $7,500 discount at the point of sale.
  • Mass-market electric vehicles like the Rivian R2, Chevy Blazer EV, and Chevy Equinox EV are becoming available.
  • Rivian's success or failure as a major player in the industry will become evident soon.
  • Rivian's unique headlight design is praised.

Vergecast Hotline w/Allison Johnson (00:49:29)

  • Terry, a listener, is considering purchasing a foldable phone to enhance his productivity while preparing for a professional exam.
  • Foldable phones offer increased screen real estate, making them suitable for tasks that require more screen space, such as viewing PDFs or marking up documents with a stylus.
  • Foldable phones can improve productivity by allowing users to multitask and view multiple apps simultaneously.
  • The Vergecast discussed the pros and cons of foldable phones, particularly the Google Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold.
  • The hosts agreed that the $1,800 price tag for new foldable phones is too high, but prices have been coming down for older models.
  • For Terry's specific needs, an iPad might be a better option if he wants a device that excels at specific tasks and doesn't need to be carried around all the time.
  • If Terry wants a foldable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the current recommendation due to its durability, software, and overall refinement compared to other options in the US market.
  • The Vergecast team encourages listeners to share their thoughts, questions, and feelings about the topics discussed on the show via email or the hotline.

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