Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Will Uber Fire Travis Kalanick?

Maya Kosoff, Vanity Fair:

Uber C.E.O. Travis Kalanick has long been the sort of leader that Silicon Valley venerates: brash, unapologetic, and committed to winning at all costs. As his ride-hailing start-up’s valuation ballooned, the press wrote off Kalanick’s jokes about picking up women on demand and thrived on the drama of his secret plans to sabotage his rivals. But as Uber matured into a globe-spanning, $70 billion behemoth, stories of the company’s aggressive, macho culture ran up against evolving expectations for what is acceptable behavior in a tech industry finally grappling with sexism. Now, in the wake of a series of metastasizing scandals, a once unthinkable question is being asked: will Uber’s board fire Travis Kalanick?

Or, to frame it another way, what would it take for Uber to fire Kalanick? At any other company, he’d have been walked out of the building four or five scandals ago; Uber, though, has a uniquely high tolerance for intolerable behaviour. From an ethical standpoint, is there anything Kalanick can do wrong in the eyes of Uber’s board?