The new CEO will most likely get some key performance objectives related to current problems as well as revenue (or margin) growth.
If there's a reason to believe TK can commit and be evaluated against the same indicators, the incumbent CEO is a better choice since no time is wasted on onboarding and getting familiar with the business. If he refuses to commit or commits and is then unable to execute, now that stipulates a much more productive board discussion on how the current CEO should step away to let a "more mature" or "more tenured" CEO that can execute against those objectives.
So if any resignation is imminent, expect it in 3-6 months, not now.
To me, that the perception of Uber as a toxic company has not abated indicates that, even if the board and investors have tried to ameliorate the situation, they have little control over Kalanick. I'd be fairly upset to see my return hang in the balance over something like that, but I suppose your return is always hanging in the balance over something.
If I were an investor in Uber I would be more concerned about the Waymo/Otto business. If some injunction comes down with that, a huge amount of the value of Uber could evaporate. If their self-driving business stays on course and they oust Kalanick, I'm reasonably certain that they can deliver on a large portion of their valuation.
Seriously, if she is ever allowed to hold a paying job again, something is wrong with corporate culture.
"Mayer exhibited 'great leadership and courage while under intense pressure from many entities,' FBI San Francisco Division Special Agent in Charge Jack Bennett said on Wednesday"
Why get rid of him when they're plenty of ways to spin the narrative. Like making unrelated but scandalous sounding press releases, and finding an occasional fall guy
More recently I've been considering closing my Amex card now that they've partnered with Uber.
Not true, Uber can be 40-60% cheaper. I've stopped taking public transit in the Bay Area because of Uber, I don't think I could do that with Lyft alone. Is there another competitor with cheaper pricing?
It's also not just about the price. A new benefit to having an Amex platinum card is $200 per year in Uber ride credits. I do not plan to return to Uber to use the credits. In fact, this is making me seriously consider not renewing that card when the annual fee comes up in a few months. I don't want Uber getting money from me, even indirectly.
Call me a cynic, but I think you're in the minority, I doubt most people have the moral fortitude to forego $200 in free Uber credits...
60% seems extremely high to me. I'm sure it's happening at some level, but it would have a significant impact on Uber's growth and it opens the door for the 2nd and 3rd place competitors to get traction.
Also, the rates will drop every time there's a new scandal, so there's a compounding effect to the waves of bad press they've had.
>Travis Kalanick just sent out a company-wide email. It essentially says after Uber said it was naming a COO, Jones decided to leave.
Update 2: Ex-president Jones makes statement
>"I joined Uber because of its Mission [sic], and the challenge to build global capabilities that would help the company mature and thrive long-term.
"It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business.
"There are thousands of amazing people at the company, and I truly wish everyone well."
Kalanick certainly wanted to put his spin on the reason for leaving.
"After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn't see his future at Uber."
> one or two back-handed compliments in there. but alas.
> (one imagines taking the high road would have been a better decision here. but hey, im not an exec)
> one imagines that the above statement wouldn't have come if the below email didn't include the passive aggression
It's very likely he had to forfeit everything, including any signing bonus (1 year timebomb is standard).
This is what having fuck-you-money gets you: The ability to walk away not care about the financial consequences.
People are funny. Millionaires get billionaire-envy and are sometimes willing to risk jail to add the extra zeros.
My understanding is at this level it's about personal connections and grooming an image. With that in mind, does it become harder to attract great executives on a go-forward basis for Uber?
A good analogy would be attracting candidates for coaching positions in sports.
If you're a team in a bad situation, you'll have to settle for candidates that don't have the experience usually required for the position, or people who've done it before who haven't had huge success.
Also most great execs are already in a great position - why would they step into a bad situation unless you gave them a higher title or more power?
Basically you get either a placeholder or an unknown quantity. The unknown quantity is just that. They might be awesome (everybody has to have had a first head coaching job) or completely overwhelmed.
If a losing team wants a winning coach, they will either have to settle for someone inexperienced, or pay up to get someone experienced in turnaround situations.
Same with companies, except with turnarounds the most substantial part of compensation is the company's stock. If the turnaround is successful, the executive will get wildly rich as the stock appreciates (and rightly so).
With Uber, the stock is greatly overvalued, which means anybody coming in is trying to turnaround the company, but only to maintain the current imaginary valuation. Where's the upside?
To your point, in the business world, if you've already gone through the turnaround experience, you're probably already very well compensated.
The one big thing that you can dangle in front of good candidates is a more powerful position or more responsibility. Hire a COO into a CEO position, or give a proven head coach power over personnel decisions. Other than that, there really isn't much of a carrot you can dangle. A move from a CEO of a successful company to a CEO of a failing company is a strictly negative move. EDIT: all other things being equal, of course. You could get a CEO of a small successful company to run a large failing company, but that'd be similar to getting a successful high school coach to run a college team.
The only case I can think of where execs jump around fairly quickly in "turnaround" situations are those who specialize in getting a company ready for a sale.
And you have a name and a position and a network and influence at your company.
Money is worth peanuts compared to that!
What's the risk of taking an hypothetical 50M from Uber, it's gonna be trying to fuck you over with ISOs and sexually harass you, whereas you can take 5M a year at your current company safely and with great success for the next decade.
Keeping a successful ship successful is hard work. There is nothing a distressed ship has to offer you.
If you were offered the job of President of Uber, say at the same salary you make now, would you take it?
I'm sure a lot of people would say yes.
Success or fail, you would now have "President of a multi-billion dollar company" on your resume.
The people who are qualified for the job or would be even considered in the first place are likely to be in one of two career trajectories at the moment: aiming upward to become the CEO of a major corporation or on a downward path and trying to maintain the power, respect, and lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. People in the former category would avoid Uber like the plague, so you are looking for someone in the latter group who is talented enough to catch a falling knife but somehow overlooked by companies making a similar search but not quite as desperate as Uber happens to be at the moment. Tough order to fill...
At present, in our city in North Australia, ride sharing services are still technically illegal, but Uber is campaigning hard against local government to get it overturned and the general population are behind them because the local taxi service stinks. Uber are even placing targeted ads on Facebook for local residents, and have a special page on their website just for our city residents to get information on the progress of the fight with our state govt. and local council.
“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business."
Until this moment I wasn't sold on the idea that Uber was going to actually die from this, now...
In the 2008 financial crisis, people from the bottom to the top committed outright fraud; swallowing up other banks whole (PNC bought National City for $5 billion; then got a $5 billion tax credit .. they bought National City for free .. NC wasn't allowed to apply for TARP).
Ford sold tank treads to Germany. IBM made punch cards for the SS. BP got the UK and US to remove the democratically elected leader of Iran and install a dictator. United Fruit and everything they did in South America
Wal-Mart is still around, and Amazon has turned into the new Wal-Mart. Uber could die tomorrow or last another 50 years. I don't think any of this is make or break.
Zenefits seems to have cleaned up with the departure of the former CEO. I'm not sure what their bankruptcy prospects were. Departure or not, I think Uber has challenges beyond their need to create self-driving cars (which the CEO claimed was existential for them).
In literally the second sentence of his response: "We've seen worse companies last longer."
Now, Uber's current combination of all its troubles does not paint a pretty picture, but a resignation of a top exec and a PR nightmare simultaneously aren't really things that would definitively sink a multi-billion dollar company.
...And the danger is...?
Nobody is suggesting that you'll get bumped off by the Uber PR squad, just that you'll be caught making uninformed definitive statemnts about an uncertain situation.
(well, they also have a giant pile of cash. But their ability to raise that cash is obviously dependent on what investors think of their brand)
It's more than a bit like a tipping point for the moral soul of market capitalism (to the extent that's not already an oxymoron).
Basically Uber will continue to dominate so long as being a complete, total monster is MORE important than any other consideration. That's what's propping them up: their continued existence is an indication that, to global capital as it exists today, the various considerations of business all boil down to one single Darwinian consideration: what will make the most money, all else aside.
Uber is a vote for 'all else aside'. They're a vote for literally capital crushing everything else before it, for the belief that abstracted power (in the form of money) can always do anything it wants. In a sense it's a vote of confidence in the freest of free markets: as long as everybody continues to believe, logically Uber can never fail because they can always out-scumbag everybody else and if you're certain that's the key to success it's illogical to break faith with 'em. That doesn't mean 'liking' it: you can hate it and still believe that's the only way to success.
The one crack in the support beam: this literally requires everyone to agree, because the ONLY thing holding Uber up is the collective confidence in their valuation. They can only burn infinitely if they represent something vitally important to capital as a whole. This is why they're still Uber, and it's pretty revealing.
But it requires just about unanimous agreement that Uber is the way of the future. It doesn't take many defectors before Uber stops making the rules for being a unicorn darling trend-setter: and people do have a sense of what's at stake here. If Uber is NOT the future… then they lose a LOT of money.
Uber is the Enron model. They are incapable of crumbling, or dwindling. They can only be the way of the future and the one model for everyone going forward… or explode, very suddenly and catastrophically.
I myself was a die hard supporter of uber and its behavior of breaking corrupt laws.... up until the last month or so with the recent controversies.
Toxic is toxic I guess.
My not-even-2-cent internet armchair prediction: one or more people will go to jail for the whole Levandowski affair.
Burning bridges like this?
Could it be that he was part of the problem and attack is the best defense? Because I cannot find any other reason why somebody would do this.
It is also strange to say that because he was no. 2 in the company and if you are no. 2 you should be able to fix things you do not like.
Burning bridges with Uber is a benefit to him. He can use that fire to burn away the bad smell from them before it taints him permanently.
Without inside knowledge that's speculative but this is how these things usually play out when founders dig in against a new outsider.
The letter feels like spin to reduce the feeling of a fractured company towards the rest of the cadre. Not that they will be fooled (for long, anyway).
Anyway, it's Travis Kalanick's ship to sink if he so desires so Jones is right to leave, but if I were him I would not wait too long before coming to my senses. The Uber brand is starting to look damaged beyond repair and they still have not begun with the salvaging operation, things are only getting worse.
It's entirely possible (and more likely) that he said "these people need to go" and got told "no, they're high performers we can't do without."
Nothing less will start to stem the tide.
Stealing ideas from Google? If they can't get away with it, that's catastrophic. If they DO get away with it that's a thumb in the eye to Google, much like their normal operations are a gutpunch to every legal system they're in conflict with.
The whole point is this: everything negative about Uber turns into a positive for their valuation if they can get away with it. I don't see any possible event or action that would break this rule. Travis Kalanick could eat babies on nationwide TV and it would help their valuation IF he got away with it, because it would be more grandstanding about how Uber is ultimately powerful and can always do anything it wants because of that power.
View any bad press in that light: are they getting away with it? If they are, it's more evidence they make the rules, and making the rules is why they're valued at Uber levels. If they are above any and all laws, the valuation is justified or undervalued.
It's a little bit like attempting to achieve escape velocity. If you succeed then everything is fine, but if you fall even a little bit short, it all comes crashing to the ground.
Only time will tell, but I'll be pulling (har har) for Team Gravity.
It is easy enough to switch to Lyft (I live in major metropolitan area) without any inconvenience. And the Lyft driver's I've talked with about all the controversy say they make more $$$ and are happier driving for Lyft.
as it stands, the options are taxis and not getting private transport, which is the option i've taken when it's not too inconvenient
Another interesting thing I've noticed, my taxi trips for a few commonly used trips turn out to be occasionally cheaper, and rarely more than 5 or 10% more expensive than the Uber rides I used to use... (And that includes getting home at 1am on the nighttime surcharge rate here in Sydney...)
As a friend commented on Twitter recently: "it's pretty hard to make taxi owners look good - (not drivers, most drivers NOT owners) but Uber's making it happen"
I asked 7-8 of my non tech/internet obsessed friends what they thought of recent uber scandals and if they stopped using uber. I got blank stares.
all of my techy friends know about uber news but not one has deleted uber.
Very very few actually care about any of it, people have short memory and outrage fatigue is real.
It's probably for the best that rates go up a bit.
Rates that are unsustainably low cannot be sustained, by definition.
As long as the drivers are getting paid well, whether it be from fares paid by riders or by VC subsidies, it will attract "quality" cars and drivers.
A separate issue is the sustainability of subsidizing driver wages from VCs by keeping rider fares artificially low.
Also, if you listen to the Lyft founder talk about the company, he sounds like he actually wants to help the world. Not to say that they can't become a shitty corporation, but it seems less likely.
Seeing as how leaked financials have reported Uber losing billions each year, I don't think they have nearly that much money left.
To paraphrase Chris Rock, "that Uber didn't go crazy; that Uber went Uber"
We can't say it is related, but we can't say it's not related either.
...and that's why you should leave it out of the headline.
Uber is evil. They do evil things. They should not be supported. Yes, people like to see the titans fall, but people also like to see those who behave poorly get what they deserve for that behavior. That's what's happening here.
For reference, here is a list I compiled a while ago of all the scummy things Uber does that would make one glad to see it go.
But you have cause and effect backwards. I feel this way about Uber because of all the things they do; I didn't feel this way and then decide to find evidence to support my feelings. Lyft isn't great, either, hell, neither are taxi companies, but they aren't saturating the world with crappy behavior like Uber is. Given how universal Uber's misbehavior is - even my list is only partial coverage - I don't see how it doesn't apply to "every aspect of the company."
At what point would you draw a line and say "this behavior pattern is unethical and shouldn't be encouraged/enabled" when we're talking about a big company? That is, if Uber doesn't fit the bill, who does - does anyone?
The Waymo lawsuit/Levandowski affair is clearly looking WAY out of the norm for any huge tech company, especially since it's looking more and more like Uber may have colluded from the beginning (discussed previously https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13860890 )
"They look much better if you ignore this one massive problem!" is not a defense.
> literally none of this is different than any other huge tech company out there
"Everybody else does it too!" is not a defense.
>Uber breaks laws all around the world to enrich itself, including allegedly trying to deceive government officials across the world.
Detecting malicious users and protecting drivers by shadowbanning malicious users is neither illegal nor wrong. Uber has no legal nor moral obligation to help the governments entrap its drivers, or perform sting operations. 
> It refuses to treat its drivers as true employees, even though legally they are considered such in many jurisdictions, and only complies when faced with court orders.
Stupid jurisdiction should not be complied with above direct legal necessity. Treating uber drivers as full time employees hurts both the drivers and the company (why do you think uber driver pay got lower the more 'benefits' uber is required to provide them?).
People shitting on uber always seem to ignore how much public utility it provides in every town it enters. I remember ~10 years ago when I was in Warsaw, coming back from a new years eve party, and I had to walk ~4 hours to get back home because there was no night public transport in that area, and no taxies were available at all. I was in wasaw again 2 years ago, and in the meantime uber has moved in. Getting a drive back on NYE was trivial - maybe we had to wait 20 minutes, and pay ~4 times more than a taxi would have been (but of course there were no taxis available); but split 4 ways it was still a great deal.
There's a reason people choose to use uber; and there's a reason people choose to be uber drivers. And yes, it sucks to be a taxi driver who has bought his way into a monopoly by buying a permit, and now cannot recoup the cost that easily. I wish there was a way to compensate them at a cost of the people who benefited from bringing in license requirements in the first place. But I don't see one, and in the end I believe it's more important to dismantle the broken system.
Uber is breaking the law in these jurisdictions. That's what the court orders are for. Are you suggesting that it's okay to adopt a policy of "we'll break the law until we get caught" on the basis of not liking the law?
Yep, that's called civil disobedience. As long as they pay the fines, I don't think it's wrong to break a bad law.
When you hear a company break an actually meaningful law, the outrage isn't "X is breaking the law!", it's "X is doing <bad thing>". And yes, some of the outrage about uber does take the shape of the latter, and some of it is actually bad. But a lot of criticism is "Uber is breaking <law X> in <country Y>", and you'd only say that if the law in question is actually ridiculous.
But all corporations already have that power. There is nothing you can do to stop someone from breaking a law if they think doing it, even after accounting for any negative consequences the society might apply to them, will benefit them.
> the overall idea of "it's OK for them to break the laws I agree are bad" doesn't work when they start breaking ones you _don't_ agree are bad.
Um, sure does? Just because I'm saying "don't punish people for breaking stupid laws" doesn't mean "don't punish people for doing things that are wrong". Especially if doing those wrong things also broke laws!
I am not saying that Uber should be excused in anything they do. I'm saying that if you're complaining about Uber doing X, you should do it by pointing out how X is wrong, not how X is illegal. There are many things that are illegal but aren't wrong (see for example how Americans treat speed limits); there are many things that are wrong but aren't illegal. You should be outraged when someone does something wrong, not when someone does something illegal.
I don't see speed limits and red lights as useful, because they slow me down. If I were rich and amoral enough, I could drive however I wanted, pay the fines, and simply not care.
Laws are created by a democratic society, and individual members don't get to unilaterally declare that laws are "not useful" while still remaining members of that society.
Kalanick or you don't get to decide which laws are stupid and should therefore be broken. There's an established process for that. And on the empirical level, it's not enough to show that customers and drivers are choosing to do business with Uber. If that were the standard, not single law protecting workers, customers, or third parties would be necessary.
Also, 'jurisdiction' means something different than you think,
Every person for themselves decides which law they should obey and which ones they should break.
> There's an established process for that.
And the process pretty much always starts with people deciding to disobey the law, and the law being adjusted later on to match public expectations.
> Also, 'jurisdiction' means something different than you think,
Yes, I meant to type regulation, ~corrected~ (ETA: not corrected because I can't edit anymore) with thanks
Corporations are not people. And even if we're only talking about Kalanick, while one may choose what laws to break or not, that doesn't exclude one from prosecution for laws one has broken. You don't get to pick and choose like that.
Your basic proposition here is that rules you don't like shouldn't have to apply to you. Society cannot function that way.
No, I never said that? Obviously when you break a law you should be prepared to face the consequences for breaking that law, as stated in the law. That's the baseline of paying fines. (And then possibly contesting the fines in court or building a public case for changing the law based on being fined for something really silly).
What is not necessarily good is the additional public punishment for breaking a law; whether in form of bad PR, people boycotting them, protests, etc. That outrage should not be encouraged based on legality of actions, but only based on their morality.
Uber does, however, have obligations to obey the law. Part of which would include not using technology to hide law-breaking actions from local law enforcement.
I very much doubt there's a legal clause specifying that uber has to provide service to undercover agents. If there was, I expect uber's legal department would not allow that program to go through.
(a) A person obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he or she knowingly commits any of the following acts:
(1) Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information
(I'm not sure if the "prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense" would apply case, but I'm not about to try traipsing through Illinois law decisions to find precedence).
The law does not state that you have to do certain things. It states what consequences arise from actions you may or may not chose to take, and get caught performing those actions.
UPS and Fedex drivers routinely double park on streets to make deliveries, and pay the fines. They have a fund to pay the fines with, and count it as the cost of doing business. The law doesn't obligate anybody to do anything.
Evil is more profitable than good, because of externalities. The question is, how MUCH more profitable, and for how long? There are also patterns to consider which have to do with over-reaching, hubris and inability to work within any external context.
Uber is the kind of evil that doesn't play nicely with other evil. It's an extraordinary profit opportunity and treated as such, right up to the point where it explodes. The whole thing is based on conflict and dominating everything it touches, but it escalates where it doesn't have to: it can only continue to grow when it's not meaningfully opposed.
As such, Uber doing evil actions isn't meaningful, but Uber running afoul of Google in legal conflict is meaningful. Government and law aren't rich enough to oppose Uber, but Google is, and if Uber prevails against Google that drastically weakens Google.
I think it'll go the other way. Google is like a considerably more restrained Uber. They're in a position to do what governments and laws cannot.
President (me): Head of corporate strategy, networking, and vision. (I also am the acting CTO but that's kind of not relevant here)
CEO (him): Fiscal policy, hiring planning, org chart projections, etc. He is the main executor of plans and also somewhat the Chief Revenue Officer. He's also the COO and his work is more meaningful in being the ops director, actually.
I loved giving up the CEO title. I don't want it back. Ever.
EDIT: Essentially the President title is flexible. In my company's case, I am the head of the entity and the buck stops with me for 85-90% of use cases across 30+ employees. But that's not always the case.
Also should be noted that I guess the company I run isn't really a tech company. We do sports science stuff.
Go build an Uber. Do it. Please. I wish you all the successes of this world.
Worry about yourself, not Uber.
Guess it didn't help here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I guess if we throw a cute face in its supposed to be innocently acceptable too right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You and some others disagree with my point of view but judging by the amount of discussion on this post, I suspect majority agrees with me. And by that I mean pasting a quote without any additional context or comments isn't adding valuable discussion to hackernews threads. I come here for the discussion so the OP was off putting to me.
I've had positive experiences interacting with Uber support. The few times I've contacted them via the app to report an issue with a ride I've gotten a response relatively quickly and I think every single time ended up with them crediting me back either the full value of the ride or at least a token amount. As a customer, I think Uber's been awesome.
But that's not what any of the recent talk about Uber is about. The issues are about being there as an employee, the culture they promote, and the values they espouse.
I really think it is related, though. Those values flow from the top down, and when executives set the tone for treating people unfairly the rest of the business will suffer down to the lowest level of employees.
Sure there are many problems with Uber, but user-facing is not one. You saying 'I really think it's related' is just your opinion, and every ordinary person I know (who don't hate them for social justice purposes) love Uber and their service.
No, being left stranded in the middle of nowhere because of Uber payment issues in the past has me believe this.
Though, if executives are quitting after 6 months even before their stock vests, maybe it's more than just the outrage machine news clamoring for clicks and views.
I was suspicious but who could be behind it, and why? Who is telling people to air the dirt that's undoubtedly very real, but that they have been just sitting on for a long time, at this particular moment?
I recently learned that Kalanick is very close to Trump, and given that this started just after the election that would seem the likeliest explanation.
But this is just my guesswork.
(Switching account because I didn't store the old password... Wrote this password down)
Not exactly leadership material.
Edit: Apparently an unpopular opinion. Do those here think otherwise given he joined the company less than a year ago (and is thus not part of the original culture), but instead could try to repair the damage done by the uber-bro culture instead of looking for an easier paycheck?
You seem to assume that b/c he left after half a year he didn't try and just wants to get easy money somewhere else. I wouldn't be so quick to that assumption and that's probably what makes your opinion unpopular.
If I'd feel that after half a year I hadn't gotten anywhere, I'd get out too. Regardless of the pay check since one way or another I'm not able to have any meaningful impact on the organisation and its mission. I don't know if that's the case, but that's an equally reasonable assumption given what we know about Uber's culture. However, since we don't know one way or another it might be nice to assume good faith over cop-out or incompetence.
On the other hand the article also says that he doesn't really like conflict so that it may be that the very toxic culture he would need to be fixing is distasteful enough to him that he just doesn't want to deal with it. This doesn't say anything disparaging about him other than perhaps that he is sane and rational and Uber has a really big culture problem.
Maybe 'uber-bro culture' is not actually a thing, and he doesn't see a possible solution for the PR problems?
It's really hard to stop the hatetrain.
I doubt the entire company is tainted, but it does have issues that need to be led by people who will address in something other a Facebook AMA.
The reason it's unpopular is because it's just that. An opinion with no inside view of the situation.
Many times, it's better to just bow out of a bad situation, if you're not given the power to change it, or if the situation was mis-represented to you, or both.
Chalking this up to not being leadership material is intellectually lazy and flip.
"the session did not go over all that smoothly. In total, Jones answered only 12 questions on his public Facebook post"