With everything happening recently, I wanted to share my thoughts on how we got here, and a path forward. Like many of you, recent events have left me upset and deeply reflective. When we designed the Uber prototype app back in 2009, we were just focused on creating an app that would make it easier to get around. And in just 7 years the Uber team has turned a simple idea into one of the fastest growing and impactful companies of all time.
All companies have growing pains. And because Uber grew so fast these growing pains are much more serious. Over the years we have neglected parts of our culture as we have focused on growth. We have failed to build some of the systems that every company needs to scale successfully. But what matters now is that we know what needs to be changed. We must update our core values, listen better to employees and riders, and prioritize our drivers. The team at Uber has some of the best problem solvers in the world, and we must now apply our talents to solving these issues through clear actions.
A friend recently asked me, “What went wrong?” and the answer is that we had not listened well enough to those who got us here… our team and especially our drivers. In a highly competitive market it is easy to become obsessed with growth, instead of taking the time to ensure you’re on the right path. Now is that time… to pause for a moment and think about what really matters here: providing 65 million riders transportation when they need it, giving 2 million drivers flexible work options, and creating a company culture we are proud of.
Last week I heard a story that really stuck with me. A college professor made a comment that “Uber has liberated grandmothers worldwide” based off the mobility Uber has brought to her mother. And it made me remember that while many mistakes have been made, Uber has changed millions of people’s lives for the better, bringing mobility to those who need it most. It’s important to remember the positive impact Uber has on the world, and how important our work here is.
Uber has become a global service providing roughly 15 million rides per day across 500 cities, and international markets are growing as fast as ever. People love the product itself, and they see companies like Uber as the future. Which is why we must now hold ourselves to a higher standard going forward. We’ve formed a new executive leadership team, and the board is actively recruiting new directors and talented executives.
I believe that our business can have 10x the impact it has today — once we have additional leadership and training in place, and evolve our culture to be more inclusive and respectful. We should still push hard for what we believe in, and be much more collaborative going forward.
Garrett Camp, co-founder.