If an old blog is any indication, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick foresaw the effect that bad press could have on a company.
In a since-abandoned 2010 WordPress blog called "Swooshing," a reference to Kalanick's previous company, Red Swoosh, the Uber cofounder laid out his thoughts on start-ups, technology and investing and management.
SFist unearthed the blog, which Kalanick promoted on Twitter as recently as 2015.
In one entry, Kalanick writes:
Surely, on today's Internet, we're all potential victims of some "wingnut" saying something horrible about us, or some random picture of some indiscretion making it to the Internet and ruining our careers.
Later, he adds:
But I think that reputation is anything but dead, and instead will become more important than ever. With more data and info getting on the net, and as the tools to decipher fact from fiction get better, reputation becomes more accurate, and significantly more valuable. We can, fortunately, breathe a sigh of relief that value is in fact and not in fiction; that hating, and libel and lies get pushed out b/c of their relative paucity of value. But we are fooling ourselves into thinking that indiscretions will be completely forgotten–the best case is that the most common indiscretions get pushed off the indiscretion list. Its just that those of us that are adults right now are carrying an old belief that what happens in the past stays there. That's a luxury that is about to die and we all better get used to it.
Uber is in the midst of an investigation into sexism allegations that surfaced after the blog post of a former employee, Susan Fowler, went viral. Since then, run-ins with regulators, drivers and rival companies have surfaced.
In a separate post on raising seed funding, Kalanick advises founders to find a partner for the managing process, to prevent unpredictable "crazy shenanigans" -- interesting given that he's currently on the hunt for a chief operating officer to work alongside him at Uber.
Thought Partner: Pick one advisor, co-founder, or mentor who will be your thought partner in managing the process. There is a lot of activity as you go to get your first term sheet, all the way through the close. Strange s--- you cannot predict WILL go down. Big personalities, money, valuation, ego, all that makes a nice recipe for some crazy shenanigans. Nailing your messaging, managing the big personalities, keeping momentum going, takes a certain amount of magic, and making that happen is not accidental. It's hard work, hustle, credibility, and preparation, and you'll be much better at it with a partner in crime who can help you think through the issues, and craziness that inevitably will go down as you get to closing.
The blog's last post is dated July 1, 2010. Kalanick became CEO of Uber that December.