Why Companies Like Uber Get Away With Bad Behavior

In 2016, it reportedly lost $2.8 billion

.. Amazon, even in its darkest, loss-accumulating early years, was a piker compared with Uber.

.. For all its candor and specificity — rare qualities in corporate America — the report doesn’t directly address the sources of Uber’s misbehavior: its longtime chief executive, Travis Kalanick, and his chief enabler, the endlessly forgiving board of directors that is controlled by Mr. Kalanick and his cronies.

The Holder-Albarrán report recommends that the company consider eliminating its official “core values” like

  • “Always Be Hustlin’,”
  • “Principled Confrontation” and
  • “Let Builders Build,”

principles that “have been used to justify poor behavior.”

.. The requested repudiation of the company’s cultural values would be a repudiation of Mr. Kalanick’s cultural values. The entire mess that Uber is in is, ultimately, his doing.

But the report treated Mr. Kalanick with kid gloves, recommending only that a chief operating officer be appointed to take on some of his responsibilities.

.. Consider all that this presumes: that he is so invaluable that he can step aside — apparently no single person will be in charge during his absence — and work on self-improvement and then, his spot at the top held for him, return. He acts like the company belongs to him.

.. typical in Silicon Valley, encouraged by weak boards, investors who compete among themselves to be the most “founder friendly” and dual-class stock structures, similar to those at Google and Facebook, that give founders’ shares 10 times the voting rights as ordinary shares.

.. “Investors in high growth, financially successful companies rarely, if ever, call out inexcusable behavior from founders or C-suite executives.”

.. As long as the company keeps growing, the founder can be forgiven almost anything.