Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Video Emerges of Travis Kalanick Arguing With His Uber Driver About Falling Fares

Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg:

There’s no question that it’s been a hard year for Kalanick and Uber — or really, a bad year compressed down into an awful three months. And it keeps getting worse. That pleasant conversation between Kalanick and his friends in the back of an Uber Black? It devolved into a heated argument over Uber’s fares between the CEO and his driver, Fawzi Kamel, who then turned over a dashboard recording of the conversation to Bloomberg. Kamel, 37, has been driving for Uber since 2011 and wants to draw attention to the plight of Uber drivers. The video shows off Kalanick’s pugnacious personality and short temper, which may cause some investors to question whether he has the disposition to lead a $69 billion company with a footprint that spans the globe.

Kalanick apologized in a company-wide email:

It’s clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.

I want to profoundly apologize to Fawzi, as well as the driver and rider community, and to the Uber team.

I know this is said a lot about incidents like these, but does anyone think that Kalanick would have remembered being a dick to his driver had video not been made public? I certainly don’t.

Building a company on a brilliant idea isn’t enough, and there’s no way that this is an isolated incident from Kalanick. Uber’s corporate culture has been rotten from the start, and it originates from the top. I don’t think this is news to anyone who has been following the company for a long time, but the amount of reports that have been published over the past few weeks makes for a profoundly upsetting track record.