In contrast, Uber Technologies Inc. was built on competitor obsession. The startup created tools to scrape data from other ride-hailing companies; Uber employees went slogging to recruit away drivers; when Uber weighed which laws to bypass, it looked to which ones competitors were breaking. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive officer, has exhibited deep paranoia—even his closest advisers have acknowledged as much privately. This is a man who is said to have believed that Uber’s India competitor, Ola, might have framed an Uber driver for rape, a crime for which the driver was convicted.
Kalanick admired Jeff Bezos and even crafted a list of corporate culture values for Uber in the model of Amazon.com Inc. But Kalanick had a slightly different order of priorities. He put “champion’s mindset” higher on the list than “obsession with the customer.”