Speed, Ownership, Impact, and SunChips
Why you should (really) come have lunch at Uber in downtown San Francisco
Adam Starr, Growth Design Copywriter at Uber
Whether you’re a designer, or an engineer or a product manager, you’re most likely getting hit up on LinkedIn a few times a week and asked to consider joining a new team. When this happens to me, I usually write back and say “I appreciate the offer, but I’m all good, thanks!” However, every now and then, when I get a really thoughtful cold pitch, I write back to say that I agree, working together sounds like a good idea. Then I invite them to grab lunch with me and check out life at Uber.
Why finding talent is everyone’s job
Of course, if you’re like most people, you may ask yourself: “Why not just ignore cold emails from strangers? Why try to add people to your team? Simple. Talent is like water. If you don’t have a deep pool you won’t make it through the dry spells, especially when everyone’s trying to fill their own pool from the same very finite amount of it.
How we vote with where we work
We spend more hours at work than we do with family and friends outside work. And, whether we ought to or not, many of us define ourselves by what we do. When people ask, where do you work? We hope the answer we give will be interesting and personally gratifying. For a lot of us, work is more than a paycheck. It’s a vote. It’s a declaration of self. It’s a compass direction that says this is what I care about, this is what I believe in and this is where I’m heading.
Do you currently have your dream job? Do you want to?
I ask you to consider these things because I’ve been thinking a lot about work lately, and I’m absolutely certain when I say: Working at Uber is 100%, without any inkling of doubt, my favorite job of all time. I have never learned or grown so much at work and I’ve never had such a once-in-lifetime opportunity to have this kind of global impact.
And so I invite you to ask yourself what you care about and where you’re heading. Is where you work, right now, your favorite job ever? If it’s not, what’s missing? Are you looking for more autonomy? Do you want to make a bigger impact? Are you looking to stretch yourself and take some risks? Hungry for bigger challenges? Does your company move too slowly? Does the stuff you work on never ship? All good questions. And ones we’ll address shortly.
And if you’re still not convinced that you should consider a new opportunity at Uber, I understand your hesitation. I too had questions when I first started interviewing last year. For example:
Question: Is Uber anything like joining the Cobra Kai Dojo?
Short answer. No.
Long answer. Not at all, but good pop culture call back.
Like you, I’d really like to be on the right side of history — and the leg sweep — with Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi. Speaking of history, and sticking with 80’s movie pop cultural references — working at Uber is more like trying to get back to the future with Doc Brown. Sometimes you show up in a city where you act and think a little differently and you’ve got this crazy idea that with the right combination of technology and people you can help fast-forward to the future. In both cases, it’s not always easy but it’s always 100% worth it to be there and be ready when lightning strikes.
The fact that your spider sense is tingling is great. You should always be on the look out for the right opportunity for you. But with great power, comes great responsibility, and since you have the power to work at a lot of amazing places I invite you to read on and hear me out. And not just me and my perspective. I’m a copywriter on the Growth Design team. I know my experiences are not the same as ones had in Engineering, or Product, or Marketing or Data Science, that’s why I’ve brought some friends to tell you what it’s like to be working on the stack, the design, the roadmap, or the analysis.
Remember how we talked about what might be missing from your current role? Let’s dive into that.
Are you looking for more autonomy? You’ll never have this much autonomy at work because we don’t have an approval culture, we have an accountability culture. Move fast. Have an idea? Champion it and drive it to completion. We’ll give you the keys, the people, and the support — but you need to own the things you’re passionate about. Push for what you believe in and be thoughtful of the potential outcomes, because you’ll have the ability to affect change in ways you haven’t at other places you’ve worked.
Do you want to make a bigger impact? At Uber, the best idea wins. An Android engineer could come up with the next headline and a communications designer might think up the next product feature. If you want the ability to take ideas from brainstorm to tangible reality in hundreds of cities for millions of people — this is your place.
Are you striving to stretch yourself and take some risks? When the India Growth team proposed accepting cash payments they weren’t met with universal applause. After all, isn’t “cashless” part of what makes Uber Uber? But after they spent time on the ground, researching, experimenting, testing, and designing new flows that reflected local market conditions, their work has led to a new way to pay for Uber in dozens of cities around the world.
Hungry for bigger challenges? How about this one. Our goal is to replace car ownership and create a global transportation network that is so reliable that every time you push a button you’ll be able to move things and people across hundreds of cities and 60+ countries all over the world.
Adam from the Growth team (that’s me) likes telling stories that move cities.
“I think cities are humankind’s single greatest invention. I love to travel, and my job is to understand what people are thinking and feeling in cities all over the world. Being able to empathize with their needs, answer their questions and tell them about how Uber can help them make extra money or get a safe ride across town is super gratifying. Working on a product and contributing to a platform that directly makes cities more efficient, more safe, and more accessible across 6 continents is definitely the coolest thing I could be doing. Simply put: If you want to make your city better, work here.”
Christine from the Engineering team enjoys directly impacting the future of transportation.
“With an open API, we are allowing developers to use Uber as a tool for whatever they want to build and that is incredibly exciting for me. Instead of keeping our riders and driver partners inside of our closed app/system, we’ve made a bold decision to unlock access. For the first time, users can take an Uber within other applications — without ever opening the Uber app. It’s a super visible example of our open and progressive approach in bringing change to transportation.”
Amritha from the Design team loves how she gets to grow professionally and empower people.
“The best thing that anyone could want in their career is to feel constantly stretched and that you’re constantly getting better. At Uber, I feel like we’re constantly raising the bar for ourselves and for our consumers. I love Uber’s theme of empowerment. Uber empowers me as an employee to pursue the best possible solution to a problem. More importantly, we empower others to get in the driver’s seat of their own lives and make a living on their own schedule. I’ve heard countless amazing stories about how a driver was able to pay their way through school, or a single mom was able to pay the hospital bills, and it’s amazing to simply be a part of that. Even my dad drives with Uber, and he absolutely loves it.”
Margaret-Ann from the Product team thinks it’s gratifying to provide real economic opportunities to Indian communities.
“For me, I think the coolest impact Uber has on Indian communities is that it is opening up economic opportunity in an unprecedented way to drivers. Especially as we start to solve problems like vehicle financing for drivers who otherwise never would have been able to get a loan for a car, we are enabling a large segment of the population the ability to provide for their families and meaningfully change their economic status in a way that’s never been available to them before.”
Steven Ellis from the Data Science team joined Uber to provide people safe and reliable transportation.
“I studied behavioral economics because I’ve always been fascinated by how people make decisions. Being at Uber allows me to build systems that respond to our human needs — to get from point A to point B, to get a package or meal delivered — in a seamless, intuitive way. We’re applying cutting-edge behavioral science and statistical methodologies to make navigating the real world easier and more effortless for millions of people — that’s inspiring”
Coley Holnback from the Product Marketing team is delighted by the product, people, environment and challenges.
“The product — we are changing the world and making transportation reliable around the world. The people — they are smart, talented, driven and fun. The environment — when you spend as much time working as we do you want it to be doing work that actually makes an impact with people that inspire you in a place where you’re learning every day and minute! The challenge — we are getting to think through and solve problems that haven’t existed before.”
Today, we’ve talked about autonomy, global impact, career growth and super interesting challenges that involve redefining the very way your city moves. If you want to push code that speeds up traffic instead of page load times, we would love to talk to you.
If you’re looking to design experiences that bridge the digital and physical divide and work on products that move people — you’re in the right place.
And finally, if you’re still on the fence about what we do and don’t do — let me leave you with this.
At Uber, we don’t sell impressions or traffic ads, but we do care about reducing traffic. We do care about making an impression by helping connect you with the people and places you care about most. We do make it easier to make extra money when it works for you and your family. We do help reduce drunk driving. We do work to eliminate the need for parking lots. We do help you pay for today, and save for tomorrow. We do a lot of things. But one thing we don’t do is follow a map. We draw one — and we want to give you a pen. (Yes, free office supplies are included.)
Will you join us? Will you move your city? We hope so.