Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book starting with the last letter of your last read
Book: Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, by Mike Isaac
No, I don't know how Popsugar comes up with these categories.
The book traces Uber's journey from startup to phenom to most loathed company in Silicon Valley. Uber's high rollers (particularly Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael) come off as the epitome of Silicon Valley tech bros, willing to engage in amoral, possibly illegal, and just plain creepy behavior to fulfill their goal of "Always be hustling." One striking example - Kalanick strongly opposed the app having any way to tip the driver, because he wanted the experience to be "effortless" for the passenger - even though it would make a huge difference to the drivers and reduce turnover, and lots of passengers wanted to tip.
The company went through a series of reversals: overextension and failure in foreign markets, a revealing blog post by a former employee about rampant harassment, and a viral video of Kalanick yelling at a driver, which sparked the #DeleteUber campaign. Kalanick was ultimately forced out, but the company's toxic environment went beyond one executive, and I'm curious to know if this book will have a sequel.