Open thread: Can Uber be profitable?

Hello and welcome to Oversharing, a newsletter about the proverbial sharing economy. A special welcome to the many new readers—I’m excited to have you here!

We talked Tuesday about a memo Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote to staff, and the big question of whether Uber can be profitable. I condensed that newsletter into a Twitter thread which turned out to be pretty popular and sparked a lot of interesting conversations on Uber’s business model.

So I thought I’d open it up to the Oversharing community: Can Uber be profitable?

I’m including an updated chart that compares Uber’s quarterly net income to adjusted ebitda. The latter metric is used by Uber to evaluate operating performance and strips out a variety of costs, such as stock-based compensation expense, unrealized gains or losses on equity investments, and other items Uber doesn’t see as reflective of ongoing operating performance, like financial support for drivers affected by Covid-19. Uber has posted positive adjusted ebitda in each of the past three quarters, with $168 million in adjusted ebitda on $6.9 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter.

Participation in these threads is usually reserved for paying subscribers, but in honor of all the new readers, I’m making this forum available to free subscribers as well. Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks again for signing up for Oversharing.