BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 08: (CHINA OUT) Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber Technologies, attends the launching conference of Baidu's AI-powered digital assistant "Duer" during the 2015 Baidu Technology Innovation Conference on September 8, 2015 in Beijing, China. Li said: "the new digital assistant "Duer" that will be integrated into its latest mobile search app and use artificial intelligence to tailor suggestions to a user's tastes" and it also already handle requests for restaurant bookings and food delivery, pet grooming services and film ticket sales. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
If we were awarding the Businessperson of the Year crown based solely on disruption, money raising, valuation (reportedly now flirting with $70 billion), and all the intangibles that make Kalanick a blazing—albeit controversial—sun in the business universe, he’d be the easy winner for his car-hailing company and its major role in creating the sharing economy. Those qualities are enough to vault him into the top 10, but the company’s youth and acknowledged lack of profits (not to mention a reported annual burn rate of $750 million and opposition to the company massing in a number of cities around the globe) prevent him from reaching the pinnacle—for now.