advertisement
advertisement

The definitive account of Travis Kalanick’s Uber downfall is here

The definitive account of Travis Kalanick’s Uber downfall is here
[Photo: Flickr user OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS]

Travis Kalanick may no longer be Uber’s CEO, but his time at the top continues to provide irresistible fodder for journalists. Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer and Brad Stone have a report on his downfall, which fleshes out the story we already knew in fascinating detail. Kalanick was unrealistic, isolated, and erratic—qualities that you can theoretically get away with if you’re the prime architect of a massively valuable startup, but which did him in when he failed to address them.

Here’s how he dealt with the repercussions of the release a video of him riding in an Uber and chewing out its disgruntled driver:

Kalanick was unable or unwilling to right himself. If anything, his judgment deteriorated. He decided that he should apologize privately to Kamel, the driver he berated on video. The plan was simple: meet with Kamel at some neutral and nonthreatening location, engage in five minutes of pleasantries, say sorry, and leave.

The meeting went on for more than an hour, with Kalanick re-debating Kamel over Uber’s pricing policies. Somehow, by the end, Kalanick suggested that he give the driver Uber stock, according to people familiar with the discussion.

My favorite bit may be one that isn’t all that Kalanick-related, involving board member Arianna Huffington’s intermingling of her Uber duties with her day job, though it seems like another sign of fundamental dysfunction:

The founder of the Huffington Post was a constant presence at Uber’s offices, making suggestions that seemed to promote her new wellness company, Thrive Global Holdings LLC. For example, she wanted to put “nap pods” at driver hubs and give drivers meditation wristbands. Huffington’s company received $50,000 in consulting fees from Uber.

advertisement
advertisement