Love him or hate him, Travis Kalanick, the now former CEO of Uber, is a leading name in the entrepreneurship field. The ride-sharing company changed every single market rule businesses thought they knew, disrupted a leading industry and became the poster child of the sharing economy. Just think how many times you’ve heard the quote “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles.” But now Kalanick has resigned and he will be needing a resume to land his next gig – we imagine what this could look like.
Travis Kalanick Resigns as CEO
Late on June 20 news spread that Travis Kalanick is stepping down from the position of CEO. According to The New York Times pressure for this change came from several large investors in Uber who demanded a change in leadership. All of this comes after a long period of scandals and public scrutiny.
To his credit, Kalanick issued a very level statement, saying ““I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.” The investors in the company, although initiating the CEO break-up, have kind words to say, as well:
There will be many pages in the history books devoted to @travisk – very few entrepreneurs have had such a lasting impact on the world.
— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) June 21, 2017
A week earlier, the entrepreneur decided to take a leave of absence for an indefinite period of time. His letter stated his need to work on “Travis 2.0”:
— Aarti Shahani (@aarti411) June 13, 2017
Kalanick is the bad boy of entrepreneurs. He is ready to bend laws, find loopholes or outright break rules in order to get ahead of competitors. He’s been known for spearheading a lot of crazy ideas, including identifying individual iPhone users, and geofencing Apple’s headquarters to hide the prohibited practice. These morally dubious moves are a major factor in establishing Uber’s dominant position on the market. Still, a company’s CEO is the leading model employees follow and that has left a mark on Uber. After all, when you know something about Kalanick, it’s not surprising that Uber’s official values include “Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping” and “Principled Confrontation”.
We decided to look beyond the controversies Uber faces and focus on Travis Kalanick himself. So here’s what we imagine his resume would look like:
You can argue that his behavior leaves a lot to be desired. But his experience as an entrepreneur shows true business savvy. His entrepreneurial experience started off early – he dropped out of UCLA to found Scour, a search engine and file sharing service. The company saw major success, but got sued by 30 companies for copyright infringement – the sum amounted to $250bn, which Kalanick aptly compared to the gross domestic product of Sweden. To protect the company’s assets, he filed for bankruptcy – a trademark “bending all rules” move which we see in his career time and time again.
When there is a great idea, Kalanick is ready to do what it takes – after founding his second company Red Swoosh, he received no salary as CEO for the first 3 years, before securing a $1.7m investment from Mark Cuban, and eventually selling the company for $18.7m.
Then came Uber and, as they say, everything else is history. Fast Forward to 2017 and the company is present in more than 450 cities, has a valuation of nearly $70bn and is a leading tech disruptor. However, PR crises arise and we’ve seen them handled less than ideally. Recently the company lost 200,000 users – so many that it had to automate its account deletion process for the first time ever!
Still, Kalanick leaving the President’s advisory council and Uber’s internal policy struggles are good first signs of major changes – both for Kalanick The Person and Kalanik The CEO. So even if this leave of absence is just a prelude to a more permanent change in his responsibilities, with a resume like that, who wouldn’t seriously consider hiring you?
As a form of closing, let me leave you with the best explanation of Kalanick we found during the research for this piece. Mark Cuban said to the New York Times:
Travis’s biggest strength is that he will run through a wall to accomplish his goals. Travis’s biggest weakness is that he will run through a wall to accomplish his goals.