Feminists and diversity activists everywhere are celebrating the demise of Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founding chief executive who was forced to resign by a group of investors and directors today.
Kalanick has long been portrayed as the poster child for Silicon Valley’s bro culture, and his company branded as an evil enterprise with a depraved culture that puts growth and meritocracy above human dignity and diversity, as I wrote in today’s Entrepreneur column.
And yet, you could always count on the native Californian to own it. He seemed all-but-impervious to all the scandals, lawsuits and boycotts calling for his head. But in recent months, he seemed to lose his nerve, and started apologizing for everything and kowtowing to everyone.
In today’s business world, it’s easy to lose sight of who our real stakeholders are: our customers. Rather, we allow ourselves to be ruled by a mob of PC elitists, diversity activists and perpetual victims who seek to neuter the competitive spirit and culture of meritocracy that’s made American innovation the envy of the world.
I never figured Kalanick to be the sort of CEO to fall into that trap, but he did. That was a big mistake, in my view. Once he put the fate of the company in the hands of a team of activist attorneys and consultants from Obama era attorney general Eric Holder’s law firm, the writing was on the wall.
Kalanick is no ordinary individual. Starting with little more than a powerful vision, remarkable competitive spirit and complete distain for the status quo, he disrupted the worldwide taxi industry and created a $68 billion powerhouse with 12,000 employees in just eight years. No matter how you look at it, that’s an astounding achievement.
The man was clearly focused on building a high-performance culture, growing the business and fighting resistance from the industry he disrupted, not putting all the bureaucratic systems and procedures in place that the diversity and inclusion nuts and their attorneys think should be top of mind for every CEO. Horrors.
Look. I’ve followed the company closely and seen all the allegations. I read Susan Fowler’s blog post, watched the video of Kalanick and that Uber driver and read Eric Holder’s recommendations. Sure, there’ve been plenty of issues but, in my experience, nothing to justify the sort of widespread condemnation we’ve seen in the media.
Unless of course you think headlines like “Toxic Behavior at Uber Reveals Tech’s Existential Rot” are fair and reasonable conclusions based on fact, as opposed to ludicrous sensationalism meant to stoke the flames of discord. That piece, incidentally, was written for Time Inc. by diversity activist Ellen Pao, who lost a high-profile sexual harassment suit to VC firm Kleiner Perkins a few years back. No bias there.
Make no mistake, Kalanick was forced out because he valued his business and stakeholders over diversity and inclusion. His resignation was not a victory for anyone except those who sought to bring him and his company down, who think that white males are a blight to be exterminated, and who scream sexism, racism and every other -ism you can think of and lawyer up when things don’t go their way.
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