By Nicholas Varchaver
April 30, 2017

Good Morning.

Uber seems to dominate business journalism these days only slightly less than Donald Trump dominates everything else. There are endless tales of the glitzy car-service-app provider and its pugnacious founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, that portray it as the Death Star of the sharing economy. In that regard, “Uber’s CEO Plays With Fire,” in the New York Times, doesn’t break new thematic ground. Yet it’s well worth reading, if only for the scene of Kalanick reprimanded by Apple CEO Tim Cook for violating Apple’s rules by tagging iPhones even after customers had deleted Uber’s app. Some of the episodes described here have been told before, but others—including that Kalanick was bullied as a child and that he once sold knives door-to-door—were new (at least, to me). The article argues that “Travis Kalanick’s drive to win in life has led to a pattern of risk-taking that has put his ride-hailing company on the brink of implosion” and it backs that with solid evidence. Of course, approaching—but not yet disintegrating in—a full-on implosion seems to be one of Kalanick’s defining talents…so far.


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