It’s a startup that began with a $200,000 investment from its founders and five years later flourished into THE ride sharing company with a $60+ billion valuation. In 2013, before it became a household name, we knew two things about this brilliant startup (and wrote about it at the time here):
- It would take off and be widely adopted
- It would struggle to survive over the long-term as its disruptive nature made a lot of enemies
I’m talking about Uber, of course. While I hope it continues to flourish as it has defined the brilliance of technological innovation and challenging the status quo, it appears the firm has forgotten the importance of messaging and public perception; or, perhaps, like so many other startups that began with a meteoric rise, got a little too cocky.
Uber is in the midst of a few scandals (questionable rate hikes, poor employee relations, sexual harassment issues between employees, and more). And some members of its management appear clueless to social etiquette required when you’re a figurehead of a massive corporation. Other key members of management have jumped ship, an ominous sign of a downtrend for the firm? Maybe.
Travis Kalanick’s Great Entrepreneurial Intentions
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, is an inspiring entrepreneur, and even he has been in hot water for, in my opinion, a video that he did nothing wrong in (watch above to make your own opinion). Now, sadly, his mother has past away due to a terrible boating accident, forcing him to take a leave from the company. Further, the smut publication SALON just published a piece titled, “Strike four for Uber: Even with Kalanick’s departure, they may still end as the “Enron of the transportation industry”
As sensational and ridiculous as that is, SALON isn’t the only media outlet bashing Uber. Just Google the word “Uber” and see what comes up on page one. It’s as bad as the coverage Trump gets from the media… (coincidentally Kalanick is an advisor to the president)
Because of its management’s apparent inability to value public perception, the company is now the bad boy of the tech industry. Public perception is so bad for Uber, I don’t know if the ride sharing giant will recover without giving away a good chunk of market share or wiping out its entire management team.
There’s a lesson here for entrepreneurs in the midst of their own meteoric rise…
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