Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Tech Goes Stupid, It Really Goes Stupid, Uber-Style

Uber has gone all-in with obnoxious holy-shit-what-happened-to-them bullshit. I like crowd-based, let's-share-the-work-and-keep-the-profits-so-citizens-prosper stuff, like airbnb, blablacar (UK and Europe), and Uber, Lyft, and ride-sharing here in the U.S. sounded good even though as a wine-country rural small town resident I don't see much of it.

But to hear how the CEO of Uber has made both a fool of himself and a villain as well, I'm pretty disgusted. Read first the newzz:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has responded to the controversy caused by Uber Exec Emil Michael suggesting the company should dig up dirt on journalists who criticize it, including PandoDaily’s editor Sarah Lacy.
In a tweetstorm, he said that “Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company…His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals” He went on to say how Uber needs to instead tell the story of progress and regain consumers’ trust. “I will do everything in my power towards the goal of earning that trust.”
Kalanick stopped short of firing Michael publicly, though, which might have gone a lot farther than just words to repair the situation.
Here's Sarah Lacy responding:
Today, in his horrifying scoop, Smith writes about the the lengths that at least one Uber executive, Emil Michael, was willing to go to discredit anyone– particularly a woman– who may try to question how Uber operates.
Ruining her life? Manufacturing lies? Going after her family? Apparently it’s all part of what Uber has described as its “political campaign” to build a $30 billion (and counting) tech company. A campaign that David Plouffe was hired to “run,” that’s looking more like a pathetic version of play acting House of Cards than a real campaign run by a real political professional. Because step one of an illegal smear campaign against a woman is: Don’t brag about it to a journalist at a party.
The woman in question? The woman that this Uber executive has vowed to go to nearly any lengths to ruin, to bully into silence? Me.
Fucked up.

(thanks, Atrios)

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