Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, gave his first public interview since joining the company today at the New York Times’s DealBook Conference. At the end of the conversation, Khosrowshahi was asked about Uber’s much-publicized issues with workplace culture. Specifically, he was asked when the company realized things were going sideways. He was also asked what others can learn from this huge public meltdown.
According to Khosrowshahi, Uber was just too focused on winning. “The fact is, everyone wants to build a winning team,” he said. “And I think Uber was winning.” The problem was that while Uber was scaling as a business, “it wasn’t necessarily scaling in terms of culture.”
“I think winning gave some excuses for bad behavior,” he went on.
Finally, he concluded: “By the time it became public, it was almost too late.” (Not too late for Khosrowshahi to swoop in and fix things, of course.)
Some may see this explanation as a bit of a copout–especially given that all the warning signs were there before Travis Kalanick stepped down in June. Still, entrepreneurs may be able to learn a thing or two if they navigate through the rationalizations.