Uber is a Silicon Valley giant founded by Travis Kalanick, that seamlessly connects riders to drivers through its apps, making cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From its founding in 2009 to numerous launches in over 400+ cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer. Every corporate giant hits rock-bottom sometime or the other and this week has been its lowest point in Uber’s history. Travis Kalanick steps aside from his post as CEO of Uber following constant investor pressure demanding his resignation. While he’ll remain on the board of directors, Kalanick’s departure comes after months of reports of a toxic workplace culture, cutthroat business tactics, and the occasional public embarrassment. Currently, the company has a huge void in senior positions including a CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, and whatnot.
Legal Asseverations: Following a series of allegations against Uber including reports that Uber has a “God View” —a GPS trick that could track any user’s location information ;criticisms for its use of dynamic or surge pricing during times of crisis; skepticism in Uber’s driver background checks after an Indian Uber driver raped a girl, Travis Kalanick’s fate was sealed the moment Susan J. Fowler decided to blog about her mishaps during her time as an engineer in the company. She confirmed allegations regarding sexual harassment in her bombshell report which lead former Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate her claims. Holder’s reports included recommendations to limit Kalanick’s responsibilities at the company, appoint an independent chairman, and create an oversight committee on the company board. One day later, Travis Kalanick takes an indefinite leave of absence from the company, stating that he was taking personal time to mourn his mother’s death. A member of Uber’s board of directors, David Bonderman, also resigns after he makes a sexist remark during a board meeting, I know right!
The Fall of a Giant: The secret behind Uber’s success was often directed to Travis’s brash, fearsome business practices, seen as reflecting his combative mentality. That’s been a double-edged sword for Uber, getting it into more lawsuits than out of them. On March 1st, 2017, when Bloomberg published an embarrassing tape of an Uber driver berating the ride-hailing company’s CEO for lowering prices and putting the squeeze on him and other drivers around the world, Travis’s reputation was publicly dragged through the mud. No matter how many times Kalanick apologises and promises to change his ways, it’s going to be hard to make people forget about all the other times he’s acted brashly and repugnantly. “If you spend all your time fighting, sometimes you get a fighter mentality,” says Jason Calacanis, Inside.com founder and an investor in Uber.
Other Side of the Coin: “I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted by another fight,” Kalanick said in a statement to the Times. “This is a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber”, the company’s board stated this week. It is not easy to give up one’s life achievement, not even for its own sake, and definitely not if you love it as much as Travis loved his startup. There still are many people in Team Travis who believe in him and consider his methods apt for a successful corporate journey. The story of Travis Kalanick and his $70 billion Startup reassures every Silicon Valley genius that shadier the principles they rely upon, harder would be their fall. The fate of Uber is still uncertain, stay tuned for more!