I often take Uber when I’m on my travels, and I learned something interesting about that system when recently reading the book Everyone’s a Critic
Evidently — and I did not know this — Uber drivers can see what your average rating is as well. That’s zero to five stars. If you do not consistently rate Uber drivers high enough, they can just not pick you up. The rating is incredibly important to the Uber drivers because if their average falls below 4.0 they get temporarily sidelined.
I usually rate an Uber guy four stars, because typically it’s not a “five star” experience. The typical Uber experience is perfunctory and functional. The driver is doing what he has been asked to do; pick me up, take me somewhere, drop me off. That doesn’t – to me – merit a five star, perfect rating. To me that actually merits three stars, because you’re doing what you’ve been asked to do. That is average. (actually it would be 2.5 stars, mathematically). But, I almost always rate 4 stars because I know that’s the threshold for driver trouble with Uber.
How is Typical Performance Five Star Performance?
It seems though that they expect everybody to leave a five star review. If everybody leaves a five star review for what is average performance, doesn’t that totally invalidate the entire concept of a five star review scale? And when you see Uber drivers pop up on your phone, they are always 4.5 – 4.8 average rating. What information does that provide the consumer? Essentially none. What is theoretically a five point system is functionally a three tenths of one point system.
And this need to make sure that average performance is acknowledged as superior performance isn’t just true in Uber, it’s increasingly true in life.
The Uberization of the 8th Grade
Last week I was at my son’s eighth grade graduation, and there were 275 kids in his graduating class. At the graduation they asked the kids to stand up who made the honor roll. Other kids stand up who are in the high honor roll. By my calculation, approximately 80%-85% of all the kids in the junior high graduating class were either on the honor roll or the high honor roll, meaning that 8 out of 10 kids (or more) had a GPA of 3.5 out of 4. That’s insane.
Either this is the easiest junior high school in the history of junior high school, or we’re at the point where everybody has to do excellent or we somehow believe society will crumble.
Average isn’t a Crime
Look, doing your job and getting three stars isn’t a crime, and if we try to reverse engineer society so that everybody gets five stars and that everybody makes the honor roll, I don’t think we’re going to have the consequences that we think we’re going to have.
Maybe the problem is we just can’t handle the fact that some people and some experiences ARE three stars. We just can’t handle the fact that some people are average. Not every experience can be five stars, not every restaurant, not every ride, not every hotel, not every 8th grader.
Hopefully, this was a five star episode of Jay Today!
(am I crazy on this? let me know on Facebook or G+ or Twitter)
Sprout Social Shoutout
Today’s Sprout Social Shoutout is for my friend Tom Webster from Edison Research. Tom is a genius, and one of the world’s foremost experts on media (especially audio and podcasting). Tom’s also writing the foreword to my forthcoming new book, “Hug Your Haters.”
This video is from Jay Today is my near-daily 3-minute video where I talk about social media, content marketing, business and life. JayToday is available on Youtube, iTunes (as a video podcast, and now as an audio podcast too), and at JayToday.tv. The show is sponsored by Sprout Social (which I use for my social media), and Candidio (a great video editing service – check out their easy new video templates!).
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