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Old 14th June 2017, 16:14   #1
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Default Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Uber - Travis Kalanick, has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the company. This decision comes at a time when Uber is trying to refurbish its workplace culture amongst various controversies engulfing the US-based start-up.

The issues started when a former female employee accused the company for not paying due attention to complaints regarding sexual harassment at her workplace. After multiple accusations flooded the internet, Uber hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate into the company's workplace culture and practices.

Uber recently released the investigation's report and list of recommendations, which advised the company to “review and reallocate” Kalanick’s responsibilities. The report has also suggested more control over human resource, behavior of managers and the company's spending.

Announcing his leave of absence to employees through an e-mail, Travis Kalanick has said that he needs time to grieve for his mother, who passed away last month in a boating accident. Uber has claimed that Travis can return to the company whenever he wants and hasn't been forced by the board of directors to take the indefinite leave.

Source: Reuters

Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns-uberceotraviskalanick1024x681.jpg
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Old 14th June 2017, 17:07   #2
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Default re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

Unfortunately, Uber's nice business model has been consistently let down by the culture at the company. It would be nice for all - the drivers and the passengers - if the entire board of directors and the top management step down in the wake of these controversies. Taking an extended leave of absence is just an eyewash in my opinion.
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Old 15th June 2017, 05:19   #3
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Taking an extended leave of absence is just an eyewash in my opinion.

His mother actually did die.
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Old 15th June 2017, 11:28   #4
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Default re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

A company that's grown damn fast, but without much discipline. From what I've read, he sure is a reckless CEO (yet obviously effective). His reputation has only tanked after recent incidents, including this one in an Uber cab.

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The issues started when a former female employee accused the company for not paying due attention to complaints regarding sexual harassment at her workplace.
In case anyone's interested, here's the blog post.
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Old 21st June 2017, 11:30   #5
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Default re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

And now Travis resigns as CEO. Will continue to be on the board though: More here.

Honestly, many would have already sensed it coming.

Last edited by moralfibre : 21st June 2017 at 11:33.
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Old 21st June 2017, 22:44   #6
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

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A company that's grown damn fast, but without much discipline. From what I've read, he sure is a reckless CEO (yet obviously effective).
Effective is debatable. The unit economics of Uber in several countries are messed up (India and USA included). In the USA, the net income from being an Uber driver has been calculated to be below the Federal minimum wage (which doesn't apply because a driver is his own employer). However, people do moonlight as an Uber driver because it is another means of getting a "payday loan" i.e. you can get cash when you need it (maintenance and depreciation hits you later).

In India, the fact that Uber drivers are licensed, full-time taxi drivers presents a problem. Uber's value in connecting drivers to passengers is not worth their 25-30% commission. When discounts go away, Uber taxi pricing will have to be 25-30% higher just to pay Uber's fees (its not like there were efficiencies to be squeezed in cab and auto fares). India is too price sensitive a market for this to float. A 5-10% commission would work, but these guys are too greedy to see this. The loan defaults on Uber/Ola cars are just the beginning.

The idea of connecting drivers and customers has merit. It is the value that is in question. In most industries "finders fee" is usually in the single digits. There is some economic equilibrium behind that number. The Uber model doesn't create significant efficiencies to justify a premium. It just creates convenience.
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Old 21st June 2017, 23:12   #7
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

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Originally Posted by nishsingh View Post
Unfortunately, Uber's nice business model has been consistently let down by the culture at the company. ... ... ...
Uber's basic business model: using vast amounts of capital to undercut the competition until they disappear. Is this nice? Add to that dirty tricks and scandals aplenty, and it really looks like this is one company that the world would be a better place without.

Not that I never took advantage of that below-cost pricing from Uber and Ola. <Blush>
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Old 22nd June 2017, 02:05   #8
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

The Holder Report (attached here) is a damning commentary on Uber's culture and nearly every aspect of how the company operates. The very first recommendation was to strip Kalanick of the vast majority of his responsibilities and assign them to a new COO.

On the same day as this report was released, Kalanick announced his indefinite leave of absence from the company. And a couple of days later, one of Uber’s board members resigned after making a sexist comment about Holder’s report during a meeting. This has nothing to do with their business model--it's a pure culture crisis that was caused by poor leadership and nothing else.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Holder Report Uber.pdf (109.4 KB, 58 views)
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Old 22nd June 2017, 02:27   #9
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

Its important to remember that Travis Kalanick played a role as a tech guy and as an overall business consultant.. UBER was not his idea, that belonged to Garrett Camp who toyed with the idea of reducing fare prices for black cabs on hire by private operators. Kalanick played more of a spotlight guy role in UBER while the co-founder Camp was happy behind the curtains.

A loose-cannon he may be, but it takes a nut to change dimensions of reality and Kalanick did exactly that with the transport sector. I remember how arrogant, ill-behaved and loutish the auto-drivers were during their golden era in Bangalore.. overcharging, boosting fares with tampered meters, not issuing change, refusal to go to destinations, abusive language etc.. UBER came and tore them a new one.. today they are in tatters and deservedly so.

As a business model its amazing what UBER has become, I've never seen such a case-study in my life.. the company was never profitable, they say they are in Europe and U.S but most say that is an exaggeration, but they are valued through the roof with a 69$ billion total and Kalanick himself has a networth of 6+ billion $. Its not sustainable.. increase prices and people wont take the bait, decrease and the drivers will be squeezed into nothingness (as have many thousands of them).

But that is the beauty of America the greatest country on earth, it is larger than life and ridiculously unbelievable.. only such a country could've produced something like UBER. It is without doubt ill-managed, if not managed at all but at this point with these VC stakes, it is going to stay around for a long time for sure.

While I'm not the biggest fan of UBER, I've been their patron for about 2 years now.. Travis Kalanick may be a boor but as an entrepreneur he did a way, way better job than the likes of Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, he redefined travel for the whole earth.
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Old 22nd June 2017, 10:28   #10
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Travis Kalanick may be a boor but as an entrepreneur he did a way, way better job than the likes of Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, he redefined travel for the whole earth.
Well we really cannot compare the three. All have them have redefined the space they are in. We cannot imagine how to shop without amazon, how to socialize without Facebook and how to take a cab without Uber !!!
Lot of times great entrepreneurs may not be best of CEO's. They are mavericks and mad behind single point goal and that is to change the industry.
Even Bezos has faced of of flack for the ruthlessness to his employees, but i guess that's what makes these guys special is their madness and passion for their venture.
He did a great favor in giving the concept Uber and i guess probably its time for somebody to make it a great company Uber. I am sure Kalanick would again be working on something awesome to change something else
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Old 22nd June 2017, 12:55   #11
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

A new order has emerged in the world of transport, thanks to Uber. In this new world commercial activities do not need any laws, regulations, safety principles, ethics, or any other such money wasting pits. It was sheer stupidity of human race to evolve the rule of law over last 10,000 years. Its just plain useless wastage of money. In the new world, things are much cleaner, simpler and 'effective".

Uber is the largest global giant in "de-regularizing" public transport, but it wasn't their idea to begin with. AFAIK, Uber started as a law abiding system of connecting permitted cabs to passengers using technology. Lyft actually invented the practice of bypassing laws by enlisting private vehicles and thus cutting a huge amount of cost from the system. Uber took notice and made it a global phenomena.

All conventional operators got kicked out of the game as they could not operate without compliance cost. And then Uber brought in train loads of VC money to drive the other similar lawless players to extinction.

Our own and Chinese "inventors" did not take much time to copy the model down to the last detail. Eventually the Chinese (due to their natural knack in volume game) beat Uber in its own game and chased it off. Indians also are trying their own knack in protectionism to beat Uber, not quite successfully yet.

We as the brainless pawns of these larger schemes have played along as it has offered us our services cheap. We abandoned somewhat law abiding transport providers in favor of completely lawless transport as it is cheap and user friendly. We know that for every passenger assaulted in an app cab, ten are being assaulted by auto drivers, so cool.

People want law only when they suffer. If it turns out to be cheaper at the moment, people from developed nations or utterly corrupt nations alike will embrace cheap without a second thought. In my view, the biggest success of Kalanick was in spotting this psychology. He has achieved tremendous success by noting and exploiting this very point.

The problem of Uber work culture is that their managers are confused about when to obey the law and when not to. If violating long standing taxi regulations is alright, then sexual harassment or criminal intimidation should also be alright.

The investors have decided that firing Kalanick and bringing in a new leader will clear this confusion. The employees, associates and above all drivers will once and for all understand that cheating on taxes is cool, raping is uncool.

Three cheers for the gig economy.
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Old 22nd June 2017, 18:11   #12
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
A new order has emerged in the world of transport, thanks to Uber. In this new world commercial activities do not need any laws, regulations, safety principles, ethics, or any other such money wasting pits. It was sheer stupidity of human race to evolve the rule of law over last 10,000 years. Its just plain useless wastage of money. In the new world, things are much cleaner, simpler and 'effective". ... ... ...
A great writeup, telling it like it is, All too many like to ignore such realities. I confess that I started out completely ignorant and naive: I saw cheap fares and drivers getting rich and thought it was win, win, win! I saw (Ola) auto drivers charging by the meter, with a smile, saying that they got more work and ended up better off in the end, and again thought it was win and more win.

Not only do I and other members (and/or family: my wife is a big Uber user, usually I drive myself) take advantage of those low, low prices, but sometimes we bring our enthusiasm into it and act as if anything that buys a Ferrari or three must be good. You have very effectively and fluently pointed out just how wrong this is, and the only thing I can disagree with is "people from developed nations or utterly corrupt nations," because, when it comes to the ugly end of capitalism, there is not a difference.

My news feed on this, and similar stories, has been mostly Ars Technica. Hardly a bunch of liberal/leftie/commie anti-capitalists, so I think that their coverage is probably fair. And it looks ugly. Kalanick has, to some extent, admitted that there is a problem, but a guy brought in to reform the company gave up and left. I think it takes more than a change of CEO and a couple of new directors to reform an entire company culture. It's like sending a new headmaster into a school full of delinquents.

Maybe it will work out well in the end: maybe Uber may even survive all this. Hopefully, it might indeed be a world changing story, waving a huge flag in the face of the start-up/VC culture and making the investors stop and think.

In a post-factual world, business does not have to make profit, and capitalists do not get a return on capital? Surely that can only go so far.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:20   #13
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Default Ex-Softbank President Nikesh Arora in race for Uber top job

Nikesh Arora, Former President of Softbank Group is now in the race to become the new CEO of Uber. According to latest reports, the ex-Google sales executive of Indian origin is among other candidates being considered for the Uber top job.

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Ever since Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to resign from the company last month, the board has been interviewing possible candidates to replace him. Others in the race include Twitter's Adam Bain, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, David Cush who has previously led Virgin America, Disney's Thomas Staggs, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Wojcicki of Youtube and ex-Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

The main challenge for the new CEO would be to rebuild the brand name and also create a better work culture.

Source: Economic Times

Last edited by Aditya : 17th July 2017 at 16:44.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:58   #14
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Default Re: Ex-Softbank President Nikesh Arora in race for Uber top job

As Softbank executive, he has also taken exposure with taxi aggregation business and should be a good choice for the board if he makes the cut.

He definitely brings in expertise of financial discipline and business hygiene that is very much required to turnaround Uber.

It will be a good decision to let him manage Uber with complete control.

Last edited by i74js : 17th July 2017 at 12:59.
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Old 18th July 2017, 13:50   #15
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Default Re: Uber CEO takes indefinite leave of absence amid controversies EDIT: Now resigns

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
From what I've read, he sure is a reckless CEO (yet obviously effective).
An excellent article, as most New York Times write-ups are.

Uber's CEO plays with fire

Quote:
Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, visited Apple’s headquarters in early 2015 to meet with Timothy D. Cook, who runs the iPhone maker. It was a session that Mr. Kalanick was dreading.

For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was onto the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.
Uber has far greater impact on society than Tesla ever will. I wish Travis had picked up some leadership lessons from Elon Musk.
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