Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks onstage at TechCrunch Discrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 .
Photograph by Steve Jennings — Getty Images
By Ben Geier
September 8, 2015

Uber is a company that always seems to be in the news, oftentimes for less-than-savory reasons. In a feature in Fast Company this week, writer Max Chafkin digs into the company’s history and gives us some fun tidbits about the early days of the $50 billion-plus startup.

One fun fact? Back before Uber took off, founder Travis Kalanick made some, well, interesting choices about how he presented himself. He wore a cowboy hat, and he called himself “The Wolf,” after a character played by Harvey Keitel in Quinton Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction.

Furthermore, Kalanick says that when Uber was getting off the ground, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to make it his focus — or like he wanted to have a focus at all. “I was not ready to get in the game and give 100% or 150%,” he says.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the profile is when Kalanick gets into his politics. Kalanick once called Libertarian favorite Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead his favorite book and has drawn comparisons between Uber’s battle with regulators to the struggles faced by companies in another Rand book, Atlas Shrugged. But speaking to Chafkin, he seemed eager to shed any perceived Libertarian bent.

“I didn’t even know what a libertarian was,” he says. “But it just sort of gets repeated enough times that it becomes real.”

For a lot more on the man behind your ride home, head to Fast Company.

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