You know it’s December because your feed is clogged with Lists Of The Year, telling you what mattered in the year gone by. On Mamamia, you can tell us. Over the final few days of 2015, we’re running a series of essays on the issues that made 2015. Then, you tell us which one defines the year to you. Welcome. It was quite a year.
There are a lot of rules in Australia, and more than most in Sydney, where I live.
For the most part, this is okay, because some rules make sense. Don’t take something from a shop without buying it first. Don’t push children over in the street. Don’t drive while texting. Don’t steal disabled people’s car parks. Don’t have sex in public.
But then there are the rules that aren’t really for you and me… they are created to make life easier for a big bank, or a shopping centre, a hotel or a cable TV service. These are rules for rules’ sake. Maybe they made sense when someone drew them up in a boardroom but by the time they reach us they are just arbitrary, confusing and frustrating.
This year, 2015, was the year we finally said ‘no thanks’ and pushed back on those rules. Welcome, Uber, Airbnb, Netflix and Airtasker and many others were the driving force behind giving people back the power. Finally.
Long may it last.
This was the year that our quiet rebellions, previously muttered to our friends or in emails of complaint, went mainstream. It was the year technology enabled us to cut out the middleman.
Of course, the fightback began a long way back when the internet first started bringing people together. Suddenly you didn’t need to ask a friend if they could recommend a hotel in Fiji. There was a whole website for that.
Ordinary men and women no longer needed permission to be heard. If they wanted to get their views across, they didn’t have to grovel to the letters to editor of the local newspaper. They just wrote a blog. Or later, a tweet.
They didn’t have to traipse around a department stor at inconvenient times when they could just shop in their lounge room when it suited them.
And then came Uber… and with just one little app we finally hit our straps.
The best thing about Uber was not the lower prices — although that was attractive too. The best part was that the ball was in our court. Rather than having to hail a cab on a busy street or jostle at a cab rank you called your own private Uber driver and he or she came to pick you up right where you were standing. Using TECHNOLOGY.
You could track exactly where it was at any time and exactly where you were going once you were in. If you wanted you could talk to the driver to change the plans to suit you. You could rate the services when they were done. It was even easy to use. And at the end of the trip, rather than fumbling around for money, your credit card was billed so you could just jump right out. Essentially, even though the service worked for the driver and Uber, it was mainly designed to work for you.