Uber CEO Travis Kalanick just responded to privacy and ethics concerns about Emil Michael, after the top executive publicly suggested paying $1 million to smear journalists who have criticized the multi-billion corporation. Kalanick's medium of choice was Twitter and his method was a "tweetstorm," a series of thoughts that give the illusion of substance and circumspection because they are presented in a numerical order.
It's not easy being Michael Arrington. To kickoff TechCrunch Disrupt SF this morning, the Uber investor directed a fierce and poignant native ad for his CrunchFund investment Uber—right there on stage, in real-time. With Uber CEO Travis Kalanick by his side, it was a veritable duet of damage control! But then Lyft investor Peter Thiel had to spoil the cozy fireside mood by acting just like Arrington.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick likes to talk about the unfair ways that taxi incumbents "protect their monopoly" against his popular product. But the bigger Uber gets, the more aggressive its own protectionist tactics become. CNN says new data from Lyft, a smaller rival, shows 117 Uber employees cancelled 5,560 rides with Lyft drivers around the country since last October.
Republicans have long struggled to capture the hearts of millennials. It's never helped that the emerging crop of young voters are fundamentally opposed to the GOP's archaic social policies and general inclination toward stupidity. But the party of Big Business thinks it has found a wedge issue in Silicon Valley that can seduce skeptical kids: backing anti-regulation startups like Uber.
Uber's growing fleet of human drivers already have plenty of issues with the service: operators in Seattle want to unionize because of alleged managerial discrimination and UberX drivers have protested in San Francisco over low fares. Now Uber CEO's embrace of a driverless car future has infuriated its operators yet again.
Remember The Unicorn Club of startups that secured an esteemed $1 billion valuation? Might as well be The Garbage Club now, full of trifling companies with worth the kind of coin one chucks out the window from the backseat of an Uber. Why, in the past 24 hours alone, Pinterest and Uber reportedly increased their valuations by a collective $8.7 billion.
If Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is Keyser Söze, this is the moment in The Usual Suspects when he stops limping, sparks up a cigarette, and rides off in a sleek black car. Today, the e-hailing company announced "the most aggressive price cut the company has ever made," in order to handicap the competition.
When children are about old enough to stop vomiting on themselves, we teach them that instant gratification is bad—one of the simpler vices. But if Uber has its way and explodes into the big fat company of its own pipe dreams, it will make it OK for us to demand anything we want, whenever we want it.