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Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Culture Eats CEO For Breakfast

By Abhijit Bhaduri

 
Culture eats strategy for breakfast or lunch. In case of Uber it ate up the CEO and Founder. Travis Kalanick is gone. The investors demanded the ouster of the very person who until the other day was the poster boy of the unicorn world with his $70 billion valuation. The strategy that Travis adopted was clearly worth billions. Seventy to be precise.

There is no taking away from his ability to think of the consumer’s pain point and then create an offering that people across the world love for the convenience. It was bringing in the moolah. The problem was the 14 values taught at Ubervarsity, during every new hire’s orientation. The problem was the values. Those when translated to people practices created the rot to begin with.

Always Be Hustlin’

Values like “Always be hustlin’” and “Step on toes” sound terrific when shareholders look at the rising rate of returns. As an employee that means it is OK to push a colleague to get the glory. I spoke to an ex-Uber employee who worked there for 18 months. He spoke on condition of anonymity. He described the culture with just one word – “toxic”.

“In Uber you are taught that while your team may have worked together to achieve the results, the culture celebrates the person who dashes off the email to the world saying that he did it all. Maybe that way the Company has to reward only one person and not five. That keeps the costs low.”

When the new employee joins he or she is expected to buy their own Macbook costing a lakh and a half. The employee is expected to put it on his own credit card and get it reimbursed. “That reimbursement will come after a few weeks but in the mean time I had to bear the cost of the interest charges on my credit card.”

The Uber values became the excuse for the “toxic” culture that finally led to the separation of Travis. “Stepping on toes” was a value the employees were taught at Uber. The result: more than 200 cases of harassment, bullying and gender discrimination. There are reports of interns working a 100 hours a week and being paid for 40.

 

Read On….

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