Uber’s driv­ing les­son

What the fastest-grow­ing startup in his­tory has re­vealed about Sil­i­con Val­ley

Fast Company - - Con­tents - By Austin Carr

Faulty as­sump­tions fu­eled the ride-sharer’s rise. Here’s what needs to change.

Not long af­ter Uber co­founder Travis Kalan­ick was forced to step down as CEO fol­low­ing a spate of scan­dals at his ride-hail­ing com­pany, one in­flu­en­tial ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist tried to con­vince me that there were no larger lessons to be learned from the de­ba­cle. Uber, ex­plained this VC, who would only speak on the con­di­tion of anonymity, was not em­blem­atic of some “rot­ten­ness” at the heart of Sil­i­con Val­ley. Rather, Kalan­ick’s ten­ure at Uber was sim­ply an “anom­aly.” Across the tech in­dus­try, startup founders, em­ploy­ees, and in­vestors have been grap­pling with how to in­ter­pret Kalan­ick’s stun­ning rise and fall. Hav­ing built Uber into a dis­rup­tive force, a global ser­vice with more than 14,000 em­ploy­ees in 600-plus ci­ties, and the high­est-val­ued startup in his­tory (ap­prox­i­mately $70 bil­lion)—all in just eight years—kalan­ick seemed to em­body the best of the startup ethos: what a Val­ley-style in­no­va­tor can

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