From the resignation of Jeff Jones to the rise of the #DeleteUber campaign, it’s been a rough few months for the ride-sharing behemoth. And, even though the company just reported its most profitable domestic week ever, Uber’s past is far from behind them—especially after losing $800-billion in last year’s third-quarter earnings.
Uber’s rocky work culture and PR nightmare didn’t come out of nowhere, mind you. In fact, in the latter months of 2013, employees popularized a certain colorful phrasing to describe their work ecosystem that would serve as a foreshadow for the imminent future: “asshole culture.”
The snowball that is their identity crisis started in September of 2013 when attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan filed the first documents in a case against Uber, representing over 35,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts. The suit argued that Uber drivers should be classified as “employees,” not as “independent contractors,” which, in doing so, would make Uber responsible for providing certain amenities for example like, meeting a minimum wage, benefits, etc..
Uber counter sued.
Then as 2014 progressed, Uber began to steady and, also, gained an enormous IPO backing. Travis Kalanick, the company’s still-active CEO, around the same time leaped into the spotlight, even landing his own piece in GQ’s February Issue of that year. However, the only bit of that editorial that was in anyway memorable was his use of the term “Boob-er,” in response to how his love-life had changed since co-founding the company.
Uber, again, went into damage control mode.
Fast forward three-years and more than a handful of other damming events, Uber’s now, arguably, facing an identity crisis it may very well not be able to bounce back from. Just in the past four months of 2017 alone, the company's weathered the travel ban catalyzing #DeleteUber campaign, a scathing blog post on the company's grossly obvious gender bias by ex-engineer Susan Fowler, and, famously, the exit of Uber’s former president, Jeff Jones—after just six-months on the job.
158The beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber
But there’s a hope yet for the company, perhaps.
Arianna Huffington, the global online publishing and journalism mogul, was brought on as a Board of Directors member almost a year ago to this day, but has recently taken the reigns on Uber’s “culture change” campaign.
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