Uber Former CEO Travis Kalanick: Silicon Valley’s Latest Unprosecuted Felon
UPDATED: June 21, 2017 Did a DOJ criminal investigation into Uber prompt the board to fire CEO Travis Kalanick?
UPDATED: July 2, 2015 Uber Bonds Term Sheet Reveals $470 Million in Operating Losses
As this site has often pointed out Uber’s hypergrowth sales model is not sustainable where the manipulation of facts will hurt consumers, employees, long term investors and taxpayers. Uber spent $885 million to get $415 million in revenue which is why the Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s wealth-management clients valuation of the company at $40 billion is more than laughable it’s fraudulent.
November 18, 2014
Uber without doubt has a bad case of the Emperor’s New Clothes and someone needs to toss CEO Travis Kalanick a bathrobe quickly. This site has often highlighted Uber’s unethical and illegal activity and the company’s becoming the honorary poster child for The Sociopathic Business Mode™ (not a distinction most startups want but unfortunately one they’ve earned).
Uber’s latest PRSpin, as mentioned, should come as a shock to no one who reads here regularly or really anyone who has an actual pulse, as everyone’s favorite naked CEO Travis Kalanick issued an 13 part Twitter mea culpa on behalf of Uber Executive Emil Michael who suggested digging up dirt on journalists who dared to write the truth about the company.
Yes, there’s an absolute irony here that journalists are upset that someone would use their playbook against them; but that doesn’t mean we allow Uber a pass because some journalists blur the ethical and legal line. As this site has often said-there are good and bad within every organization and we collectively need to start highlighting/exposing the bad while removing them from positions where they can harm people and start rewarding the ethical.
Anyone who’s ever worked for a startup run unethically or that engaged in illegal activity has already in essence worked for Travis Kalanick. It’s understood that both he and the investors want to think he’s got something special that propels Uber to success; but, the sad fact is Kalanick is nothing more than an unprosecuted felon and those are a dime a dozen in Silicon Valley.
Kalanick’s apology today was taken directly from The Sociopathic Business Model™ mixed with the diary of 12 year old boy whose mom forced him to write an apology for getting caught:
1/ Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company.
Inconsistent & Contradictory while placing blame: God View-An Uber party tick showing guests where “celebrity” Uber users are
2/ His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals
Inconsistent & Contradictory: Uber leadership has shown time and again they lack ethics or general regard for the law. In fact this very situation under normal circumstances would be encouraged, replicated and rewarded-expect exposure of the facts caused the need for PRSpin.
3/ His duties here at Uber do not involve communications strategy or plans and are not representative in any way of the company approach
Inconsistent & Contradictory: Who’s responsibilities do include communication at Uber because Kalanick was radio silent regarding the last crisis: God View and getting called out by celebrity Uber patron Peter Sims.
4/ Instead, we should lead by inspiring our riders, our drivers and the public at large.
Manipulating & not recognizing the rights of others: Yes, please create an Uber Summit or Forum to inspire us all.
5/ We should tell the stories of progress and appeal to people’s hearts and minds
Lack of Remorse, shame, guilt or accountability combined with rarely challenged at work: He’s trying to tell us to look away from Uber’s ethical or legal problems and just focus on their PRSpin.
6/ We must be open and vulnerable enough to show people the positive principles that are the core of Uber’s culture
Irresponsible & pathological lies: Please show us, we’re waiting Mr. Kalanick. The truth is that Uber’s culture and business model have shown with fact based evidence over time they are rotten to the core and consistently engage in unethical & illegal activity.
7/ We must tell the stories of progress Uber has brought to cities and show the our constituents that we are principled and mean well
Irresponsible, shallow emotions, manipulation & pathological lies: He’s falling on the sword for not being forthcoming enough for Uber’s success. Ha! Find me a Founder/CEO that won’t tell you how great they are at every turn. Keep trying Mr. Kalanick, I’m still pretty sure you’re the only one who’s buying what you’re selling.
8/ The burden is on us to show that, and until Emil’s comments we felt we were making positive steps along those lines
Manipulation: Uber was getting away with still fooling some but now that this story leaked more people are going to be looking out for the company’s unethical & illegal behavior. Translation: We have to be more careful about concealing our unethical and illegal activity.
9/ But I will personally commit to our riders, partners and the public that we are up to the challenge
Lack of accountability: We have no doubt Mr. Kalanick as fact based evidence over time as our indicator of the future you will in fact conceal your unethical and illegal activity much better than resent event. Problem with that is though that his company interacts with the public daily.
10/ We are up to the challenge to show that Uber is and will continue to be a positive member of the community
Manipulating and not recognizing the rights of others: Continue? How about Uber start being a positive member of the community?
11/ And furthermore, I will do everything in my power towards the goal of earning that trust.
Fact based evidence over time has indicated Mr. Kalanick’s company has learned nothing from the last unethical and illegal problems that plague his company as he’s never publically addressed many of them.
12/ I believe that folks who make mistakes can learn from them – myself included.
13/ and that also goes for Emil ..
Uber’s unethical and illegal behavior is encouraged, replicated and rewarded and Kalanick just showed that to his entire organization as Emil has not been held accountable for his actions. He couldn’t even attach accountability to Emil by including his twitter address in the tweet. (Twits)
Innovation is amazing and the concept of Uber is great but like most startups it’s about demonstrating hypergrowth at all costs. It takes much longer to build an ethical and sustainable sales model but companies could be and should be both, ethical and profitable-it shouldn’t be a choice but we have a choice.
Choose not to reward unethical an illegal behavior that’s being encouraged, replicated and rewarded by Uber executives by boycotting Uber until there are structural changes within the organization.
Companies like Uber don’t want to operate ethically or legally, they just don’t want to be called out for unethical and illegal behavior is all. Again all accomplices (patrons, employees, taxpayers) will eventually become victims, just ask the journalists. This broken corrupt business model is what I fix when consulting where it’s about forcing accountability and really creating change from the inside. Sadly Uber needs someone like me to hand their CEO a bathrobe but investors like those at Uber would rather keep Mr. Kalanick naked and unaccountable.
Fraud follows a pattern:
If you’d like to read or another Silicon Valley startup tale (on a smaller scale-medical device startup) Acclarent’s fraudulent hypergrowth & over-valuation this time where executives get arrested and indicted by the DOJ; and, the company that bought the startup for $785 million (you may have heard of Johnson & Johnson), knowingly & willfully were complicit with the unethical & illegal activity that defrauded patients, consumers, employees, taxpayers, private health insurance companies and shareholders alike, as it serves as a cautionary tale for all none more so than Uber’s VC investors and their executive team. Mr. Kalanick may have wished someone handed him that robe sooner because federal shackles look far less comfortable.