Uber: PRSpinUnSpun: Radio Silence is Not A PR Plan
October 5, 2014
#Boycott Uber (Join)
They really should have flipped the pictures (behind) so they could look at themselves while talking.
One of the foundations of this site is helping expose the unethical or often illegal behavior at the startup level where the overall industry understanding is that these companies are less regulated by the government and therefore the mentality for many is the laws do not apply. This mixed with a healthy dose of ego makes for a deadly combination for patients, consumers, employees and taxpayers alike who all start out as “accomplices” but eventually end up “victims” to the unethical or illegal behavior. Some of whom pay with their lives.
My former industry of startup device is not really all that different from startup tech-the fundamental properties are the same, it’s the product knowledge that changes. I’ve often called startup device the lil sister to startup tech. Startup device companies sell for hundreds of millions and startup tech companies sell for tens of billions, but other than that the goals of hypergrowth with less emphasis on sustainability, returning VC money quickly and with profit and the same end goal of getting sold to a larger company are all the same.
Developing The Sociopathic Business Model™ happened as a direct result of my time in the startup industry where I witnessed (and experienced) employee rights violated and watched as companies engaged in far greater illegal activity and where that activity was not only encouraged, it was replicated and rewarded. So when I see the headlines about companies like Uber, not recognizing their customer’s rights with shameless tricks like “God View” , where their customers (once accomplices) become victims (unethically/illegally accessing customer data) I recognize a whole lot more, in that this is likely the tip of the iceberg of unethical or illegal behavior. Employees are also accomplices under this model until they become victims. It will be telling with the recent shake up at Uber how many lower level employees hit the anonymous message boards with talk of retaliation, race and sex discrimination.
It’s also recognized that no one wants to see themselves as a “victim” and there are varying degrees of victimization but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed at any level. Remember unchecked unethical or illegal behavior that’s encouraged, replicated and rewarded is only stopped with forced accountability. Unethical companies will not stop on their own, they must be forced to stop.
In Kashmir Hill’s Forbes article on God View she mentions it took Peter Sims three years before coming forward about the event in which his private Uber data was exploited for the amusement of cocktail guests at an Uber event. I’d hope if Mr. Sims was an investor in a competitor that information would have been disclosed; and, again, no one wants to see themselves as a victim and sometimes that takes time to realize what happened.
So barring the idea that Mr. Sims has any deals with a competitor to Uber, he should be applauded for exposing the truth of the actions of a company acting unethically. Not just for his benefit but for the benefit of all Uber accomplices/customers/employees/taxpayers because it gives all of us reason to look more closely at the company where fact based evidence over time is a pretty good indicator of the future and where all accomplices eventually become victims. At any rate, we have at least one red flag on Uber.
Per Mr. Sims blog he reached out to Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, at the urging of peers and has yet to hear back. It was also mentioned in the Forbes story that Uber’s press team also did not respond to a request for comment.
Uber’s pause with the media I will say gave me pause. It’s uncharacteristic for a company not to respond especially after two high profile requests. If memory serves, Ms. Allison, the Uber party-goer, with a penchant for sticking herself in the center of unethical and illegal messes, at one point with Uber investor Mike Arrington, was also the same person who contacted Peter Sims regarding his exact locations via “God View” during the Uber cocktail party. Is it possible that Uber’s silence is at the request of Uber Legal?
Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber has only one choice at this point and that’s to address “God View” with the media, and to respond to Mr. Sims letter, take accountability and create positive policy change to protect customers. It will be interesting to see if Uber turns on their accomplice/party attender/Julia Allison, (aka Julia Allison Baugher). Think she might need a lawyer?