Uber riders affected by the behavior of Kalanick? Hardly.
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
2 March 2017
The quick, easy access Uber offers is more important
So, the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, argued with an Uber driver over the company’s business model. Caught on camera and spread throughout social media.
Outrage ensuses. Kalanick apologizes, claiming he needs “leadership help and I intend to get it.” Watchers wonder if the Uber brand is damaged. Especially coming off sexual harassment charges inside the company from an Uber engineer. And Kalanick waiting weeks before resigning from Trump’s business advisory council during a rider boycott.
“Oh, many people will talk a good game. But just ask yourself. Which is more important to you? Getting a ride or protesting insulting behavior?”
Kalanick isn’t the first CEO to be caught acting inappropriately. Arguing with a driver about fares is not exactly the worst thing an executive has done. (Hey, at least he wasn’t holding secret meetings with the Russians!) It’s not a great look for him, or for his company. But I wouldn’t go deleting the app just yet.
Uber riders care more about something else – their own convenience
My guess is that regular Uber users simply don’t care. The car service is an unmitigated success. (I use it often.) And having easy, quick access to being driven around is more important to riders than the antics of its leader. It’s simply more vital.
Oh, many people will talk a good game. But just ask yourself. Which is more important to you? Getting a ride or protesting insulting behavior?
Kalanick should reconsider his behavior, and sexual harassment claims are nothing to be shrugged off. Tackling those issues is part of building a great company.
But don’t confuse an inside-out view (employees wanting stronger leadership) with outside-in ones. Uber succeeds because it’s directly positioned against taxis. (Whether it admits it or not.) Taxi service has the reputation of being hard to access. You have to call. And wait. Or get in line.
The service gives you the assurance that you have your own driver, coming to get you and not just picking up the person who gets to the door first. It’s yours, and that’s personal.
So, if Kalanick or the company makes a mistake that isn’t good optics, just ask if that affects you, the Uber rider. If not, then pull up the app, choose a driver and get on with your travels.
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