Why I’m Joining Uber’s Board
Joining the Uber board, which CEO Travis Kalanick announced this morning, represents for me an opportunity to have an impact on a global scale in a way that truly adds value to people’s lives — which are also priorities for us at The Huffington Post.
I’ve always been fascinated by all the ways we are transforming how we work, how we live, how we consume media, how we renew and recharge ourselves, and indeed how we move around in a city. Uber has transformed not just transportation — intending to make it “as reliable as running water, everywhere and for everyone” — but cities and our relationship to them. And like Travis and Uber, I’m passionate about cities. I’ve been working with mayors around the world through The Huffington Post’s What’s Working initiative and through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program, which is all about helping cities use data to improve citizens’ lives. So I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to work within Uber to keep making our cities better places to live, move and work.
And then there’s Travis. In the last few years, he has become a close friend, and I have been inspired by the big, bold bets he is constantly placing, by his gift for innovating his way out of challenges and by his ability to execute at the most detailed level.
Travis and I have spent a lot of time walking through not just his big vision for the future, but the cultural values he wants to keep building within Uber so that the company — as it grows across hundreds of cities, spanning six continents and bringing in millions of drivers — can continue innovating and evolving. Perhaps more than anything else, it’s Travis’s commitment to taking the long view and planting seeds for 5 to 10 years out that convinces me that this is just the beginning of what Uber will do to change the world and improve people’s lives.
In meeting Travis’ wonderful parents, Bonnie and Donald, I’ve come to understand how Travis is a true hybrid of his father’s left brain — the engineer’s capacity for analysis, execution and detail — and his mother’s right brain — creativity and a certain predilection for creating magic. Because let’s face it, I know we’re all getting used to it, but there is magic in pressing a button and having a car materialize with a driver who knows your name and who takes you to your destination without ever requiring you to pull out your wallet.
The final meeting Travis and I had to discuss my joining the board was at my home in LA. It was a four and a half hour meeting during which Travis walked me through everything while actually walking himself, without once sitting down, around my dining room table the entire time he was talking — even while eating the omelet I had made him.
There is already a lot I’ve learned from Travis that is helping me run The Huffington Post: relentless prioritization, the willingness to recruit the unrecruitable, and an unwavering commitment to improving the product, the customer experience, the organization, and himself!
At HuffPost, we’ve partnered with Uber and Toyota, providing thousands of free late-night rides to college students for our campaign against drowsy driving. However, as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief, I have recused myself from any and all editorial coverage of Uber. And I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity, as Travis put it in his announcement, to help take Uber to the next level.