Winners & Losers: Canada Post turns a profit, Uber provokes road rage

Trouble on the mean streets of Silicon Valley

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 Canada Post

Blinged-out Canada Post delivery van with spinning rims

Pleased Mr. Postman

The crown corporation reported its first profitable quarter since 2010 this week, eking out a gain of $42 million on $2 billion in revenue. Is it that the grandmas of the world suddenly went on a card-mailing spree? Has Hallmark finally invented a holiday between Father’s Day and Thanksgiving? No, the gain was due mostly to the fact Canada Post hiked the price of stamps to 85 cents, and several provincial elections meant a bumper crop of candidate pamphlets were being stuffed through the mail slots of the nation. The better news is that parcel delivery is growing at a healthy clip as Canadians increasingly shop online, so—until the day we 3D print everything from the comfort of your own homes—a daily flood of packages should keep our mail carriers busy.

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 Uber

Woodward and Bernstein’s Deep Throat character with a pink mustache

Road warriors

This week the publicity stunt-happy app-based taxi service was caught running a dirty tricks campaign against its smaller rival, Lyft. In the growing battle between ride-sharing services— in which customers order and pay for taxis using a smartphone app—the company with the biggest fleet wins. Uber, which recently raised $1.5 billion in venture capital funding, has put its war chest to work with a sneaky recruitment drive. Uber operatives were caught ordering rides on the Lyft service, but during the trip delivering a back-seat pitch aimed at getting the driver to come and work for Uber instead. The scheme came complete with burner cell phones, untraceable credit cards, and, since it’s Silicon Valley we’re talking about here, its own hashtag—#shavethestache—in reference to the giant pink mustaches Lyft drivers attach to the front of their cars. Here’s a better hashtag for startup schemes like this: #ohgrowup.

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