Uber was a good idea when it started. In the “gig economy,” letting people with cars become their own cabs (excuse me, ride share) and taking a piece of the action seemed perfect. Uber had the technology and the vision to make it work, and became the darling of Silicon Valley.
Some big-government liberals pushed back in places like Boston and Austin. But Uber was cool, into self-driving cars, and generally a better option than smelly cabs with sticky seats.
Then CEO Travis Kalanick made the mistake of not hating Donald Trump enough. Add to that his mistake in breaking a cab protest at NYC’s Kennedy airport over Trump’s botched travel ban, and the left had had enough of Kalanick.
Now Uber is suffering…badly. They just posted a $708 million loss for the first quarter of 2017, which albeit is better than the $991 million loss for the Q4 2016, on revenue of $3.4 billion, up 18 percent from the past quarter. But they’ve lost much momentum and talent.
The head of Uber’s self-driving unit, Anothony Levandowski, was fired after failing to comply with a court that ordered him to produce documents in an ongoing dispute between Uber and Alphabet (Google)’s Waymo subsidiary. CFO Gautam Gupta announced his exit to join another startup. In fact, “about a dozen” top executives have fled Uber since February, according to Reuters.
Add to that the hateful and vicious attacks on Kalanick himself. The man just lost his mother in a tragic boating accident. Drivers who hate him have said some unforgivable things.
“It should have been Travis in that boat not his mother.”