Hacking Startup Culture: Don’t Be Like Uber

The headlines have been filled recently with Uber’s tales of HR woe, culminating with CEO Travis Kalanick being “asked” to leave the company. As a seasoned CEO and serial entrepreneur who views culture as the most valuable asset in any company, I could see this coming from a mile away.

It was only a matter of time before the misogynistic culture that is apparently rampant within Uber would dent their bottom line and heads would roll. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love Uber as a service. I use it all the time and gush over their app — especially the super cool animation of the little car approaching my pick up location. 

However, building a great product used by millions of people each day does not entitle you to mistreat and harass your employees. Eventually that type of behavior catches up to you and things start to unravel.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Capitalism and an empathetic, empowering corporate culture can co-exist. In fact, I believe that having a great culture actually improves every aspect of your business — including your profitability and chances for success. It seems so obvious to me but apparently I’m one of the few who got the memo.

What’s better than having highly motivated, passionate employees devoted to improving every aspect of your company not because they feel threatened or entitled, but because they want to?

Isn’t it easier to retain corporate knowledge and customer relationships when your employees stick around rather than chasing them away and replacing them with a revolving door of new hires that must climb a steep learning curve?

Wouldn’t it be less challenging to hire quality employees in the first place if your company had a reputation for fairness and equality rather than a dark cloud of negativity and discrimination hanging over it?

I mean seriously, on an emotional level doesn’t it make you feel better as a human being when people are happy rather than upset or threatening legal action? 

Fostering a cutthroat, take-no-prisoners type of culture seems a bit irrational to me but I guess I’m old school.

Our company is not nearly as big or as successful as Uber but maybe we’ll get there one day. Hopefully if we do arrive, I’ll end up on the cover of the New York Times for something less sensational and a bit more inspiring than Travis did. 

One thing I’m certain of, we’ll have a heck of a lot of fun along the way and we’ll be riding the tail winds and competitive advantage of a strong corporate culture.

Eric Conn

Eric is a serial entrepreneur and tech guy whose current gig is the CEO/Co-founder of Leverege, an enterprise IoT platform startup.
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Eric Conn

Eric is a serial entrepreneur and tech guy whose current gig is the CEO/Co-founder of Leverege, an enterprise IoT platform startup.

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