Uber

Background

I interned at Uber as an ambitious 16-year-old in the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of high school, when the now “unicorn” company was still in its adolescent years. Because I joined when I did, I was able to assist in transforming an ambitious vision into a product that has revolutionized the transportation landscape.

Overview

At Uber, I contributed primarily to the core application (built with Python on Flask) that powered user and partner (driver) accounts. This involved bugfixes and feature additions for authentication, internationalization (language support), and most notably the launches of UberX, UberTAXI, and Uber’s famous promotions (like Uber Ice Cream, which could be considered a precursor to UberEATS). 2012 was a pivotal time to work at Uber–new cities were being added at a quickening pace and demand outstripped supply by a huge factor. Alongside the hockey-stick growth, the company faced many legal challenges at it expanded the definition of ride-sharing and expanded the scope of taxi-like-services. The organization was small enough at the time (with an engineering headcount of about 30) that I worked under the direction of the first few engineers. This afforded me the opportunity to be a part of meetings and product launches that would go on to define the growth of the company.

UberTAXI

Situation

Uber had just beta-launched UberTAXI in Chicago the month before I started, so there were notable lacking features and integrations. For instance, there were licenses and documents which were required for taxis but not other drivers, but the system at the time did not have endpoints for adding them. Similarily, Uber’s Chicago driver operations team wanted to begin recruiting taxi drivers into the platform but lacked the onboarding experience to do so.

Contribution

To help launch UberTAXI I helped augment the back-end system to allow Taxi-owning partners to create accounts and add their vehicle and taxi-specific documents. Then, I added matching features to Uber’s internal dashboards and “God mode” to facilitate these rides. Finally, I worked with the launch team in Chicago, and Uber’s lead designer to design and implement a promotional website for Taxi drivers to sign up to drive for Uber.