I’ve long looked up to Uber as the pinnacle of the American dream and the most powerful private company on the face of the Earth. It’s lofty goals of upending the taxi cab unions and ushering in a new method of driving all at the same time, however, may be finally catching up to it.
The civil war between ride sharing services Uber and Lyft is nothing new. They are the two biggest competitors in the space, but that war escalated and climbed to new heights in the aftermath of the 2016 election. The #DeleteUber movement grew on social media when it became clear to progressives that Uber did not seem like a company that conformed to their worldview. While CEO Travis Kalanick’s heart might have been in the right place, wanting to help the new administration, the public viewed it as a betrayal and the movement sparked a partisan debate that may have harmed the corporation in more ways than one.
Uber has long been resistant about wanting to go public. They prefer to hire money privately so that they are not held to as much oversight as many other publicly traded companies are. Now, however, the #deleteuber has put the privately held company under new microscopes and with the eyes of the ever curious public on the lookout, it’s hard to see how Uber can maintain it’s reign over us.
Uber’s missteps are not widely known. Since it’s founding in 2009, Uber has mostly stayed away from the limelight and had few instances in the way of public scandals. Like any corporation, Uber prefers to stay away from the tabloids and it prefers to default to it’s highly qualified team of lobbyists and lawyers who maintain it’s pristine image. That’s not to say, however, that there haven’t been public mishaps. Who could forget the sexual assault cases from drivers that pop up around the world? Yet those are easily settled in house and/or can be blamed on individuals that can be easily replaced.
But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Uber just admitted that a chilling expose about sexual devious culture and manager ass-covering is rampant throughout the organization. So much so, that Travis Kalanick, yeah the same guy who caused social media anguish a few months ago, just issued a company wide investigation into the matter!
In a classic play straight out of the Trump White House, Travis Kalanick seems to be trying to fight the scandal before it blows up in his face by admitting that if something is happening he will look into it. It is likely that unless the Uber team feels like this investigation leads to nothing, they won’t let us know the results of it. The seven year old company, may have to go public just to save face if more allegations come out about what seems to be a chaotic organization crumbling under it’s own bloated weight.