I honestly don’t know why so many people are worrying about Travis Kalanick, founder and former CEO Uber. Or worse, some are making it seem almost noble that he stepped down as Ceo in the wake of high profile investor mutiny that followed a flood of reports of it’s uber toxic company culture.
He knew exactly what he was doing. Period.
He was moving fast and breaking shit, being the disrupter in a no moral compass kinda way. But isn’t that typical Silicon Valley startup culture. Move fast, disrupt shit, scale fast, make your investors happy, go iPO, count the billions and collect back pats on your way to your next gig? Ohhhh, no?! Then, that’s sure what we’ve all been sold.
Listen, without question Uber as a company has changed the game of transportation, delivery and solopreneurship in global markets-and irrevocably so. It all just happened while riding the white, male bro culture that relishes winning at all costs, then collecting back pats and the number of women harassed or nailed in celebration, along the way.
Fact is, no-one needs to feel sorry for Travis, he did what he set out to do, what was expected of him to do. He built a huge company doing whatever it took, for him and his investors. He is rich and so are his investors. His toxic company culture which can potentially undo much of that. Because you can’t simply just hire more women, launch a PR campaign and change a culture overnight..or maybe in Silicon Valley you can. Hmmmm.
The chief lesson here, is that at the core of any successful, impactful and long lasting company – is the happiness of its people…employees that is.
Didn’t anyone listen to what Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group of Companies said years ago? He said happy employees first, as all else flows from that.
Maybe what has happened to Uber, will help change the Silicon Valley entitled white male bro culture, as well as, the culture of treating people as mere pawns and cogs in service to the perceived bigger Venture Capital investor-driven vision.
But who am I? just a woman tech entrepreneur and Caribbean startup ecosystem pioneer, looking on from the Caribbean doing my part to make sure, we never get infected by that disease.
They are so many ways to win in this tech game, this business game- the Travis way is only one and that’s of course – it’s dependent on how he defined winning.
And that is what I believe the Caribbean gets to define for itself. What is winning? what does it look like for the entrepreneur, employees, customers, investors, a city and a country.