08 MARCH 2016

The Future of Work: How Technology is Changing the Business Model

Chief Advisor and Member of the Board, Uber / David Plouffe

The sharing economy
Innovation is pushing the boundaries of economies with each passing day. New and unconventional ways of doing business have emerged to challenge existing industries and force them to take on new shapes. Businesses like Uber and AirBnB have challenged conventional sectors and changed modern economies. On March 8, AmCham’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Committee hosted a panel discussion with David Plouffe, chief advisor and a board member at Uber, and Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology. “The Future of Work: How Technology is changing the Business Model” kicked off with a discussion on the sharing economy and how it’s indefinitely changing industry dynamics by creating entrepreneurs across various sectors.

Uber is a prominent example of how technology has enabled the creation of a new business model that enables people to support their entrepreneurial pursuits by offering them a secondary source of income, said Sawiris. He also referenced how the small start-up that invented call-roaming changed the industry indefinitely. Innovation and adaptability to these new forms of business is key to survival.

The panelists then emphasized how the sharing economy not only benefits start-ups and established organizations but also the government. Plouffe added that innovative technologies can help alleviate such entrenched local problems as traffic, with shared riding apps like UberPool, which has been launched in cities like San Francisco, providing a budget friendly option for riders. Uber drivers today number around 10,000 in Egypt, according to Sawiris, 40 percent of which were unemployed prior to joining Uber. The firm is unique in the sense that it allows its “partner-drivers” total authority over when and for how long he works. Both speakers stressed the importance of government support of such initiatives. Technology creates jobs and enhances the economy’s ability to expand and meet global market challenges.