Jon Kartago Lamida's Reviews > Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

Super Pumped by Mike Isaac
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it was amazing

# Summary

This is a messy story of a company that revolutionizes the transport industry. The story of a man that almost will do anything to make his company successful and on some level, he makes that really happens. However, some downfall follows with plenty of scandals taint the image in the company history. This is the story of Travis Kalanick in building Uber, make it big, make controversies, and getting ousted from it.

# Important Ideas

- Building a great company is hard, especially for operation-heavy businesses like ride-hailing.
- In an attempt to make Uber great, Travis almost try to do everything to work in his mission, including deceiving much official authority of cities where Uber was launching, although, in the early days, Uber mostly was trying to escape from enforcement of the law that is still grey anyway. Concepts like “breaking the law” weren’t applicable, they believed when the laws were bullshit in the first place.
- Another significant scandal is the case of Susan Fowler which reveal her sexual harassments experience, which later found as non isolated cases. Recently Fowler has written a book to talk more about this.
- Fraud is eating so many of Uber's cakes, mainly with its China launch (which eventually halted later). Unfortunately, the silver bullet of detecting fraud by using device identifiers is killed by Apple for the name of privacy protection. Crazily, Uber workaround this by implementing geofencing for the code that will still try to extract device fingerprints from the phone. The geofencing will disable the device fingerprint in the Apple headquarter area (assuming the apps reviewer are only based there) and will enable the device fingerprinting everywhere else.
- Uber is one company that introduces dual-class stocks (maybe not the first), one stock type with just a single vote and another stock type with higher vote power, which make Travis's power almost can't be contained until the last minute he can be ousted.
- Interesting side story, is about Ryan Graves billion dollar tweet.[ But as I read the book, I am still not really getting the role of Ryan Graves, perhaps he can stay around just because can get along well with Travis.
- Dara Khosrowshahi replaced Travis to helm uber in 2017 and since has been trying to fix Uber images and businesses.

# Highlights

18/8/2021 7:59:48 pm

Hales took the call in an office in City Hall, joined by Steve Novick, his

18/8/2021 7:59:53 pm

Hales took the call in an office in City Hall, joined by Steve Novick, his transportation commissioner.

18/8/2021 8:13:54 pm

What England didn’t know was that Uber’s general managers, engineers, and security professionals had developed a sophisticated system, perfected over months, designed to help every city strike team—including the one in Portland—identify would-be regulators, surveil them, and secretly prohibit them from ordering and catching Ubers by deploying a line of code in the app.

18/8/2021 8:14:32 pm

Uber security personnel spied on government officials, looked deep into their digital lives, and at times followed them to their houses.

18/8/2021 8:15:39 pm

Greyball was consistent with one of Uber’s fourteen company values: Principled Confrontation.

18/8/2021 8:15:50 pm

Concepts like “breaking the law” weren’t applicable, they believed, when the laws were bullshit in the first place.

18/8/2021 9:01:11 pm

One employee hired a pair of prostitutes to join him in his hotel room.

18/8/2021 9:09:17 pm

Kalanick carefully studied the methods of Bezos and his company, down to the fourteen core leadership principles posted to Amazon’s website: Customer Obsession Ownership Invent and Simplify Are Right, A Lot Learn and Be Curious Hire and Develop the Best Insist on the Highest Standards Think Big Bias for Action Frugality Earn Trust Dive Deep Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Deliver Results Kalanick had a surprise for his employees, inspired by Bezos’s

18/8/2021 9:09:41 pm

Kalanick carefully studied the methods of Bezos and his company, down to the fourteen core leadership principles posted to Amazon’s website: Customer Obsession Ownership Invent and Simplify Are Right, A Lot Learn and Be Curious Hire and Develop the Best Insist on the Highest Standards Think Big Bias for Action Frugality Earn Trust Dive Deep Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Deliver Results

18/8/2021 9:09:07 pm

Customer Obsession Ownership Invent and Simplify Are Right, A Lot Learn and Be Curious Hire and Develop the Best Insist on the Highest Standards Think Big Bias for Action Frugality Earn Trust Dive Deep Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Deliver Results

18/8/2021 9:10:09 pm

The house lights shone on the blackboard behind Kalanick. Written in white chalk were fourteen bullet points, each a short saying or thought, sprung directly from the brain of the CEO. The audience read the list as Kalanick rattled them off aloud: Always Be Hustlin’ Be An Owner, Not Renter Big Bold Bets Celebrate Cities Customer Obsession Inside Out Let Builders Build Make Magic Meritocracy & Toe-Stepping Optimistic Leadership Principled Confrontation Super Pumped Champions Mindset / Winning Be Yourself

18/8/2021 9:14:12 pm

One of Uber’s greatest strengths was its incredible product focus, drive, and intensity—from every employee, at every level of the company.

18/8/2021 9:16:00 pm

Travis Cordell Kalanick was born on August 6, 1976, in Northridge Hospital to Donald and Bonnie Kalanick, an average, white, middle-class couple who built a comfortable life for themselves in California.

18/8/2021 9:18:04 pm

One friend described him as a pit bull that spent its life getting kicked by its owners—no matter how beaten down Travis was, he never, ever gave up.

18/8/2021 9:48:17 pm

“No. Stop it right there. I don’t want a wave of shitty apps from outsiders polluting this phone. Not going to happen.”

18/8/2021 9:49:43 pm

Until 2006, computer programmers made their living inside big corporations or software development outfits. To have your software touch millions of people usually required the distribution of major software publishers, ones with sizeable marketing budgets and deals with off-the-shelf, big-box retailers. Places like Best Buy, FuncoLand, and Babbage’s had aisles stocked like a grocery store, stuffed with rows of boxes of PC and Mac programs.

18/8/2021 10:03:38 pm

Just then, a twenty-six-year-old intern named Ryan Graves happened to be looking at Twitter, and spotted Kalanick’s request. He was interested, but didn’t want to come off as too desperate. Three minutes later, he tweeted back at Kalanick with a cheeky response: “heres a tip. email me. :) graves.ryan[at][](”

18/8/2021 10:05:31 pm

Graves went to startup networking events and happy hours. He read TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the Times, the Journal, Techmeme—feeling the pulse of all things tech.

18/8/2021 10:05:51 pm

Michael Arrington,

18/8/2021 10:09:02 pm

“Uber CEO ‘Super Pumped’ About Being Replaced By Founder,”

18/8/2021 10:16:28 pm

Twenty-four-year-old Austin Geidt was tasked with figuring this out.

18/8/2021 11:50:24 pm

Even now, nearly twenty years into a phenomenal career in venture capital, the first thing anyone notices upon meeting Bill Gurley is that he is enormous.

19/8/2021 2:12:51 pm

Gurley had grown famous for his personal blog, Above the Crowd, where he would occasionally post investment treatises and thoughts on the state of technology investing.

19/8/2021 8:52:47 pm

Sunil Paul, a serial entrepreneur and longtime transportation geek, was experimenting with a different way of offering rides to people with his San Francisco–based startup, Sidecar.

19/8/2021 8:58:13 pm

Uber had discovered a winning formula to expansion. But each new city required capital, an upfront investment to kickstart what they called the demand “flywheel.” Drivers wouldn’t work for Uber unless there was enough demand from riders. And new riders wouldn’t sign up or return unless there was a critical mass of available drivers. It was a classic chicken-and-egg problem.

19/8/2021 9:03:16 pm

Where Kalanick and Michael really shined, however, was in raising money. The two perfected their technique through sheer force of repetition.

19/8/2021 9:24:56 pm

As Kalanick was hammering out an exciting future for Uber with top brass at the Googleplex, Anthony Levandowski sat frustrated just a few buildings away.

19/8/2021 9:36:12 pm

Doug Schifter, a livery driver from Manhattan, faced financial ruin after the rise of Uber wrecked his income driving for traditional car services. Schifter drove to City Hall in Lower Manhattan on a cold Monday morning in February 2018, put a shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger.

19/8/2021 9:39:42 pm

In states where fingerprint-based background checks were legally required, Uber hired lobbyists to get laws rewritten that mandated drivers undergo the traditional checks.

19/8/2021 10:50:30 pm

The random commenters didn’t bother him. But Sarah Lacy got under his skin. Lacy, a long-time tech journalist who made her name at Bloomberg Businessweek and Time, frequently bashed Kalanick.

19/8/2021 10:53:37 pm

“This is crazy.” Of all Kalanick’s transgressions, his pushing out of Brent Callinicos, Uber’s chief financial officer, peeved Gurley the most.

19/8/2021 11:46:14 pm

Pham spun up a crisis team, poaching top security and fraud detection talent from local Bay Area competitors to form a fifty-person fraud squad at Uber’s HQ in San Francisco. He ordered local managers in China to review new sign-ups more rigorously.

19/8/2021 11:51:39 pm

should switch over to driving for DiDi. One

19/8/2021 11:51:45 pm

One of DiDi’s preferred tactics was to send new recruits over to Uber to join as engineers. As soon as they were hired they acted as moles, feeding proprietary Uber information back to DiDi and carrying out corporate sabotage on some of Uber’s internal systems.

19/8/2021 11:59:47 pm

Two years earlier, Apple released a version of its iOS mobile software that killed outside access to the unique identification number of every iPhone, the so-called IMEI number, or “international mobile equipment identity” number.

20/8/2021 12:01:39 pm

After Apple’s iOS software release, about a half dozen companies sprang up overnight that claimed they could detect the sacred IMEI. Quentin tested a few of them before landing on InAuth, Inc., a small firm based in Boston.

20/8/2021 1:09:10 am

At the moment, Uber was competing against DiDi in China, against Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia, against Ola in India, and against Lyft in the United States. These were costly, painful wars—with battles on multiple fronts on multiple continents against well-funded adversaries.

20/8/2021 2:23:02 am

“Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times,” the tweet read. “Please be patient.”

20/8/2021 2:44:19 am

In a later meeting, Fowler recalled a director boasting about withholding information from one executive to curry favor with another (and it worked).

20/8/2021 3:43:17 am

The never-before-reported details of a case in Indonesia, for example, would grow into an enormous problem. As Uber set up shop to compete with Grab in Indonesia, Uber would open “green light hubs,” which were makeshift checkpoints for drivers in the area to receive vehicle inspections, register complaints with district managers, and other activities. The problem was that the hubs were set up in suburban districts zoned for residential use only. Almost overnight, the green light hubs began attracting hundreds of drivers, which clogged the suburban streets and angered the locals. When the police found out, they threatened to shut Uber’s hubs down.

20/8/2021 3:45:37 am

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, a theory was floated that the rape possibly may not have taken place at all and was in fact part of a plot against Uber perpetrated by executives at Ola, Uber’s major Indian ride-hailing competitor.

20/8/2021 3:56:20 am

What is graves role?

20/8/2021 3:56:21 am


20/8/2021 10:07:34 am

As he looked at Uber’s balance sheet, awash in red ink, he began to cut losses. That meant selling off Uber’s business in Southeast Asia to Grab, the local ride-hailing competitor, for a 27.5 percent ownership stake in the Singaporean company.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 22, 2021 – Shelved

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