Travis Kalanick

'Brexit' brouhaha briskly broached by World Economic Forum
Travis Kalanick, center, CEO of Uber, reacts at a sub-forum during the World Economic Forum 2016 Summer Davos in Tianjin, China, 26 June 2016. What's a premier exponent of globalization to do after Britain's vote to exit the European Union? In the case of the World Economic Forum, arrange a panel discussion. Responses to the British referendum at the start of a three-day forum event in China on Sunday (26 June 2016) ranged from lingering shock to analytical detachment and a degree of indifference, given the heft of the Chinese economy and its limited trade with Britain. Klaus Schwab, the German economist who is the forum's founder, didn't respond to a reporter's question about the British vote. With the topic top of mind for many, a special panel titled "After the Brexit" was added Sunday morning to a program that had been weeks in the planning. Adrian Monck, a member of the forum's executive committee, set the tone, saying that as a British passport holder and possible ex-EU passport holder, he was "still coming to terms with the emotional impact of 'Brexit'."Robert Schlesinger—Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP
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What happens when you invent a new business model, upend an industry on multiple continents, raise vast quantities of capital (at an eye-popping valuation of $68 billion), provoke regulators worldwide, and nickel-and-dime your drivers while trying to replace them with robots? If you're Travis Kalanick, people start rooting for you to fail. It certainly looked as if Uber got its comeuppance in China this year, when it sold its business to homegrown rival Didi Chuxing. Maybe so. It was also a shrewd capitulation in that Kalanick who had invested billions of Uber's money and many hours of his life on the China quest gained Didi as an investor and removed a costly distraction. Next step? An initial public offering of Uber shares sometime in 2017.