AMR

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Travis Kalanick — Lost Today, hoping to be Found!

I am not a star worshipper neither do I endorse celebrities (irrespective of them originating from Hollywood or Silicon valley). I’m someone who respects grit, efforts and resilience, which means I respect Travis Kalanick, the ousted/outgoing Uber CEO and Co-founder and in his words ‘Chief Problem Solver’.

While Americans are trying to figure out the answer for Why Hillary Clinton’s Email issue hit its prime again during election (Read: Sponsored Stories), I’m trying to find answers for ‘Why every issue with Travis/Uber had to hit front page or breaking news’.

Headlines that Peter Thiel (who’s an investor in Lyft — the copycat of Uber) called Uber, “the most ethically challenged company in Silicon Valley, "made rounds in Tech world, while, Peter Thiel who himself proved he’s ethically challenged by supporting and donating funds for Mr. Trump, who is also an ethically challenged figure (Breaking my recursive Ethical Challenged figure flagging loop here) didn’t break long-lasting headlines unlike Travis.

Unlike every issue in the United States is associated with Mr. Trump (who runs the country), every Uber issue has been associated with Travis, while him being a responsible man, never shied away from responding on those. (Read: In Video, Uber CEO Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares — Bloomberg) Why was that special coverage? He wasn’t calling himself a monk who sold his Ferrari! nor did he claim to be running for POTUS!

He ran (sadly, Past tense) a disruptive company with no fear; fighting city officials, fighting taxi unions, fighting copycat competitors, fighting innovation stalling investors. He didn’t ask anyone to see him a leader (for him to be worshipped). He was just an ambitious entrepreneur, who has failed already but not ready to be so this time.

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Daniel Kahneman aruges that we’ve got two selfs within us, Experiencing Self and Remembering Self. Media outlets have fed our Remembering Self with Travis — the brash CEO while our Experiencing Self failed to acknowledge that the smooth commute — push a button and take a ride — experience is actually because of the inexplicable efforts that brash CEO has put.

We as a species have a huge problem with Attribution. We hardly think about the hardships the farmer who put food on my table would have endured let alone Uber CEO who fought everyone against him to smoothen our riding experience forever. Of course, he wasn’t a communist nor Mother Terasa to do this part of his life time charity. He had a mission, he was racing towards it, But was he running over someone? I’d say no, a categorical No! He wasn’t one of those guys who apparently cheated citizens causing 2008 Housing Crisis, nor he belongs to any terrorist organization. But he has never been portrayed simply as a capitalist CEO. Media, with no doubt, covered news regarding Uber day and night, with exaggerations and force!

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He’s no God to be free from mistakes. He had his share of them. But his mistakes have been always looked through magnifying glass. His methods and style have been constantly criticised, while those were the primary reasons for him to establish a disruptive company that bureaucrats and people with power didn’t want. He’s been made responsible for things that he can’t have control over. Ultimately, While his personal life is in misery losing his mom, he’s been ousted (Ah! Don’t tell me he resigned before reading the NYTimes article yourself) from the position he loved and died for — not the thorny seat that made him look him look the cult-face of Silicon Valley — but his desire and passion to move Uber forward.

Travis Kalanick, an inspiration for me and for so many entrepreneurs (I suppose), has been lost today, Will he be found? I’m hoping he’d be found, just like Steve Jobs was!

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