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.

Bill O’Reilly and the Upside of Corporate Cowardice

led more than 50 companies, under pressure from protesters, to pull their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor.”

.. There’s little evidence that broad-based boycotts actually hurt a company’s bottom line; in fact, loyal customers often increase their patronage. Mr. O’Reilly’s ratings rose after the Times investigation

.. But boycotts can cause a significant drop in share price

.. In other words, shareholders react to their own fear of what might happen to the company’s brand, and not to what’s actually happening to its revenue.

The economist A. O. Hirschman might describe this as a triumph of voice over exit.

.. The basic allegations against Mr. O’Reilly have been known since 2004, when he settled his first lawsuit, but that didn’t stop companies from advertising until more women came forward.

.. but sometimes the fear to offend instills a kind of civility that other spheres of public life lack.

.. Trump won an election despite the creepy predatory comments he made on the “Access Hollywood” tape. But Mr. O’Reilly is being shown the door for acting toward women exactly as Mr. Trump had suggested (“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”).

.. Steve King, a five-time congressman from Iowa, has plagued the public arena for years with his barely concealed white nationalism. By contrast, when Donald Sterling, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was heard on tape disparaging African-Americans, the N.B.A. revoked his right to ownership and put the team up for auction.

.. Coca-Cola spokesman after the company pulled ads from the Fox show “Married … With Children.”

.. Mercedes-Benz is a niche brand in the United States, but the company spends millions so that every consumer associates its vehicles with Jon Hamm uttering the phrase “The best or nothing,”

.. Don’t forget that he rehired Rebekah Brooks

.. More important, 21st Century Fox’s stock has slipped almost 6 percent since the Times investigation was published

.. Mr. O’Reilly’s lawyer is laying the blame for his client’s situation on a “smear campaign” that is “being orchestrated by far-left organizations.” That sounds like the kind of all-out political assault that Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly himself excelled at for years.