'Squirming on the Floor': Uber's Kalanick Had Crazy Demise

Bloomberg has a long look at his rocky final year in charge of the company
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2018 7:51 AM CST
Updated Jan 21, 2018 4:09 PM CST
Uber's Kalanick Squirmed on Floor When Bad Video Surfaced
Travis Kalanick in a February 2017 file photo.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) Bloomberg is out with a lengthy feature about the final, turbulent year of Travis Kalanick at the helm of Uber, which the story maintains was "a lot weirder and darker than you thought." As evidence of that, reporters Eric Newcomer and Brad Stone unearth a bizarre anecdote about Kalanick's behavior when video emerged of the then-CEO arguing heatedly with an Uber driver. When news of the video broke, Kalanick and two other executives stepped out of a meeting—ironically, one called to discuss how Kalanick's behavior was hurting the company—and watched the clip in a hallway. And then, this:

  • "As the clip ended, the three stood in stunned silence. Kalanick seemed to understand that his behavior required some form of contrition. According to a person who was there, he literally got down on his hands and knees and began squirming on the floor. 'This is bad,' he muttered. 'I’m terrible.'"

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Kalanick didn't handle the fallout much better. He met with the driver with the intent of apologizing in a five-minute meeting, but ended up rehashing their argument for about an hour—and then offering the driver stock in the company, much to the horror of Uber exec Wayne Ting, who was present. It's just one small example of why Uber's investors ousted Kalanick, and the story explores the machinations that led to the move. Click for the full piece, which notes that despite his ouster, Kalanick is now a billionaire thanks to Japanese firm SoftBank's investment in Uber. And he's gotten pretty good at "2048," a smartphone puzzle game. (Read more Longform stories.)

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