The latest uproar in the global application community is Uber’s executive boards decision to force Travis Kalanick to step down as CEO. While he retains his board position, he no longer sits in the driving seat, and the questions that arise from this major decision need to be answered so that we Ubers future can be projected.
One major issue that has to be considered, when large companies crash, they pull a lot of smaller ones with them, that is why many governments stop the fall of a large corporation. AIG was one such occurrence, where the impact would have caused a major fall in all the markets, possibly leading the US into another recession. With Uber the impact is global, in that millions of active drivers would find themselves without employment, and even more care related services would feel the pinch. What Travis has done is that he has created giant that in some countries will be offered assured continuity rather than face the impact of its closure. With this, there are more immediate concerns related to the removal of the founder and key visionary from the driving seat. These considerations include corporate vision, corporate climate, and global development.
The Investors Move
The New York Times managed to get the investor's letter "Moving Uber Forward" and published its contents, which demanded that Kalanick leave his position since the company needed new leadership. Travis accepted the investor's request and stood down, but as the founder and as a shareholder retained his position on the board of director. The board members that pushed for Kalanicks ousting were representatives of large investment companies that are usually managed in a much more conservative fashion; they include Frist Round Capital, Menlo Ventures, Fidelity Investment, Lowercase Capital, and Benchmark. These investors hold 40% of the voting power.
After the Change
An immediate response to this announcement was a letter, a petition signed by 1,000 employees demanding that Kalanick take back his resignation and return as CEO. However, it is possible that this is a strategic move orchestrated by Kalanick. The change is done, and now everyone is waiting to see who will sit at the CEO's desk.
From an outsider view, this is an intriguing world full of twists and turns, what makes it so interesting is the fact that Kalanick's meteoric rise, the way he pushed Uber so fast to become a global power, makes Uber an interesting company to watch and follow. Ubers competition, Lyft, and others are local, not global, so their impact is not as interesting or as sexy as Ubers.
Before the Change
What makes Uber so profoundly interesting? Could it be the internal workings and continuous news feed of unusual activities The media charges that Uber employs "greyballing techniques and VTOS" to undermine officials, or is it charges of illegally deploying Uber before receiving regulatory authorization? Or could it be the internal mechanisms, the corporate climate where sexual allegations and even Travis's sexual statements lead the readers to view a brash, bold and crass leader?
Silicon Valley (or Silicone Valley, full of boobers as Travis called it) has been in some minor turmoil ever since Uber hit the scene. While everyone there is used to Google's plush employment sites, they were also used to the "under-the-radar" tactics, and these tactics are still maintained today by most if not all venture capital companies as well as global billionaires. Which is the exact opposite of how Travis managed his image? He is more closely related in style and flair to Steve Jobs than to Bill Gates.
Another issue that led up to the change is Travis Kalanick's flair for battle, he never backed down from a legal issue and was and is always ready to tangle with anyone. In fact, the way to a result would involve any method, no matter how devious or direct, to obtain the desired result.
The Financial Reality
Another major factor in replacing Kalanick is the obvious fact that Uber has been losing around 2-3 billion dollars every year. Its about time the Uber model made profits, investing heavily in constant growth and expansion is sometimes a good way to go bankrupt. Eventually, a company must live with its generated income and not its investor's goodwill. This is perhaps one of the major factors that led the investors to their decision. Kalanick's inability to stop growing in favor of efficiency and creating profit.
Evolution and the techno age
One of the biggest changes the world is facing is how people can manage the constant influx of technologies. The exponential growth is one thing, but humanity hasn't changed much in 10,000 years, only the tools they learn to develop have changed. The impact of all these communication and logistical changes is impacting nations and governments. People no longer live in a bordered world the internet is border-less.
Uber realized this, Kalanick adopted this evolutionary step in pushing forward a global presence in under eight years. No one has managed to impact the world in such a fundamental way apart from Steve Jobs and Apple with their iPhone. In fact, Kalanick's Uber is an evolutionary product of the smartphone revolution. We see how world transportation and logistics is directly impacted through Job's genius.
The Next Step
Finding a replacement is a matter of perception. What does Uber want, where do they want to go? It is obvious that the new CEO must embrace Kalanick's vision for world domination but pace it with profitability, allowing Uber the chance to catch up to its ever-expanding sphere of influence. Investor's money will only go so far, and most investors don't want to, and cannot live on dreams.