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Getting a LOT of feedback on this article today so figured I'd explain the genesis and main points... [thread]…
After Uber IPO, current/fmr employees & investors have obsessed over lots of what-ifs. What if Kalanick had saved his job? What if he'd listened to investor Bill Gurley about prepping for IPO? Would an earlier IPO have led to better outcomes? I sought consensus...
...among lots of people on both sides of the fight and found plenty! Especially on what other founders & investors of fast growing companies can take away from the Uber story.
Among the points: investing in or empowering HR, legal, and finance can prevent a world of hurt later on. And big company practices might be scary for founders, but it is probably best to keep an open mind.
With this being Uber and so much money on the line, things got pretty heated and I learned some new things. Gurley, in recruiting investors to remove Kalanick, described him as a “clinical sociopath” & “pathological” who would “literally say anything” to assuage critics.
Despite popular belief, after #deleteuber handed Lyft a 20% boost in ridership in about a week, internal data showed Lyft was fundamentally under-supplied & growth flattened before getting back to same trajectory it was already on. Other Uber scandals did not seem to have impact.
When Kalanick was looking to wage a shareholder proxy fight to wrest control of Uber from Gurley & other investors, Gurley was so overwrought that he told associates he believed Kalanick was having him followed. (A person close to Kalanick denied that this happened.)
Not only did Ryan Graves, ostensibly Uber’s first CEO, have a falling out with Travis on the board, I was surprised to hear Graves feared Kalanick might try to remove him from the board entirely.
But everything bad that happened at Uber has a root cause. And that root cause was an aversion to experienced management and Kalanick's iron grip over a lot of stuff. What do you think of the Uber story? What lessons have you taken away from it?
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