Uber CEO wants to hire campaign manager in war against ‘evil’ taxi industry

kalanicktravisUber CEO Travis Kalanick is not shy about his intentions to upend the taxi industry.

Speaking today at the Re/code Code Conference, Kalanick said that his company is in a political campaign against an “asshole” opponent named “Taxi.”

Kalanick added that Uber, reportedly now valued at $17 billion, is raising a new round that could be “record-breaking.” The company is also seeking experienced political consultants in its battle with the taxi industry.

Many taxi drivers have long opposed Uber, which has disrupted the incumbents with smartphone technology. One association in Washington sued the company in March for “an unlawful and deceptive business practice which harms the economic interests of taxicab drivers.” Meanwhile, some cities have kept Uber off its roads due to safety concerns, while taxi drivers around the country are protesting the company and asking local governments for more regulation.

There’s also Uber drivers who are angry with Uber itself, with some in Seattle forming a new association earlier this month. Members say they’re fed up with the way Uber removes drivers from its system, and are concerned about sufficient liability coverage to protect drivers and riders.

But Uber does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Here are some of his comments, which you can view in the video below:

When we started Uber, it wasn’t about a battle or a war. But that war or battle has been brought to us. I think for too long, we were sort of tech geeks that didn’t realize the battle was happening, or really what I like to call a political campaign. So we didn’t realize it, but we’re in this political campaign. The candidate is Uber and the opponent is an asshole named taxi. We were in that political campaign and we didn’t even know it.

So this guy named taxi is throwing mud at us. Nobody likes him. He’s not a very nice character, people don’t like what he does, but he’s so woven into the political fabric and machinery that lots of people owe him favors and he keeps paying so the political machinery likes him.

If you don’t know you’re in that political campaign, then the mud is on you and you start looking dirty. So what we have to do in realizing that we’re in this campaign, is we have to start fighting in that campaign. We have to bring out the truth about how dark and how dangerous and evil the taxi side of things is.

Kalanick also talked briefly about driverless cars, saying that one day he would love to have all Uber vehicles driving themselves.

But, he later reminded his Twitter followers that this is a long-term idea.

Kalanick also announced today a new partnership with AT&T, which will embed the Uber app on new AT&T Android smartphones. Uber, which is bringing on 20,000 new drivers every month, will also moving its drivers to AT&T’s network this summer.

 

  • Kary

    Rather than political consultants, I’d suggest business consultants. People who know something about meeting existing regulations, being insured, paying taxes, etc.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it’s been highly entertaining. I guess they’re following the Apple/Samsung model that says all publicity is good publicity.

  • elbowman

    I guess anyone can become a CEO. Even an asshat that doesn’t understand the difference between illegal business activity and a political campaign.

    Oh! I guess there isn’t really THAT much difference. It could confuse anyone.

  • Guest

    Throughout history, great men have often encountered resistance when trying to change the status quo. We call these naysayers “the men who say, NO!” or, for short, the “no-bros.”

    In 1492, an intrepid explorer landed on undiscovered shores and decided to bring its riches back to his people. “NO!,” the no-bros living on those shores said, “those are our riches. You may not have them.” The intrepid explorer proceeded anyway, and as a result we now have the United States of America.

    About 40 years later during the War of 1812, a band of Canadans came from Canada intending to set fire to the White House. “NO!,” the no-bros living in D.C. said, “that is our house. Our leader lives there.” The brave Canadans were undeterred, and as a result their nation is one of the five most vibrant in North America.

    Flash forward a hundred years to Henry Ford, who introduced the automobile to America. “NO!,” said the townsfolk of old-time America, “you may not drive that vehicle on our roads. Our roads are for horses and not for mechanostructions.” Mr. Ford went ahead with his plans, and today the car is a staple of everyday life.

    Around 1950, a black man named Jackie Robinson said he wanted to play professional baseball. “NO!,” said the white men of America, “you may not play. The Dodgers are a team for whites only.” Mr. Robinson continued to do so and became one of the most legendary baseballers of all time.

    Fifty years later, a little outfit in Seattle wanted to sell used books on the same web pages as sold new books. “NO!,” noed the no-bros of noland, “you may not do that. Selling used books is to be discouraged.” That little company was unmoved, and today Amazon.com employs more than 100,000 persons moving books and bits worldwide.

    In conclusion, today we are seeing the no-bros noing a new, unfamiliar technology that they feel threatens them. By proceeding, our TNCs will move us forward into the 21st century.

    We are not employed by any TNC nor by any firm hired on behalf of any TNC.

    • MichaelTompson

      There is ZERO innovation in ride-sharing.
      Unless you count breaking laws and regulations as innovation.
      Small transportation companies now offer same and ever better
      level of technology in forms of apps and websites.
      So why the stubborn “unexplained” fixation on one single iPhone app?
      Use small business apps. Support your local economy.

      • Guest

        Where do TNC drivers live?

        Locally.

        Thank you for supporting your local businesses, just like I do, by giving them a bigger cut of your fare than the taxi companies do.

        • John Kane

          100% of the revenues from traditional taxi cab companies stay in the local economy.

          Uber, Lyft et al syphon off 20% or more of the money they take in and whisk it away to far away hedge fund offices.

          That’s not “buying local.” That’s leeching off a community.

          Taxi cab companies, from top to bottom, invest in local infrastructure, buildings, cars purchased locally, energy purchased at local gas stations supporting local mom and pop stores, etc., etc. NONE of the revenues that taxi cab companies generate is whisked away to some faceless hedge fund office elsewhere. None, zero, zip.

          • Guest

            Laugh. I had no idea that Yellow Cab and Exxon were such pillars of the community. If you feel good giving them your $, I guess I’ll have to allow it. I prefer to give my $ to drivers.

          • MichaelTompson

            Regulated transportation, no doubt, one of the last
            stable revenue streams local municipalities have left.
            It’s local municipalities’ rights to issue business permits.
            Ride-sharing fraudsters refuse to be properly licensed.
            That’s a problem. One of many in this fraud.

          • Guest

            They are properly licensed. You just want them to pay a few extra $ to the “local municipality.” I don’t. I want that money to stay in my pocket.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            No, UberX and Lyft vehicles do not have the licenses required by the state of Washington and the City of Seattle.

            RCW 46.72.010

            “(1) The term “for hire vehicle” includes all vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for compensation,”

            RCW 46.72.020

            “No for hire operator shall cause operation of a for hire vehicle upon any highway of this state without first obtaining a permit from the director of licensing”

          • Guest

            Laugh. I guess you’d better arrest them, then!

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      You live in a fantasy land. Canadians did not burn down the White House in the war of 1812. That was work of British regulars. Furthermore characterizing Americans who were naturally upset at seeing their capital reduced to cinders as somehow being enemies of progress is ludicrous.

      Your accounts of Henry Ford and Amazon is more silly made up history.

      Canadian Uber-troll: “NO!,” said the townsfolk of old-time America, “you may not drive that vehicle on our roads.”

      Did not happen.

      Canadian Uber-troll:NO!,” noed the no-bros of noland, “you may not do that. Selling used books is to be discouraged.”

      Your reading apparently never advanced beyond Dr Suess. In the real world, the complaint against Amazon as that it undercut its brick and mortar competition by not collecting sales tax. It makes sense that Jeff Bezos is a major investor in Uber – gaining competitive advantage by cutting corners on licensing, insurance and taxes is right out of the Amazon playbook.

      • Guest

        Keep screaming, “NO!” Let me know how well that works.

  • MichaelTompson

    “asshole…”

    Well there you got it, straight from the horse’s mouth.

  • Guest

    Is Kalanick deluded or is it an act? Uber has raised an astonishing $300 million dollars for a business that cannot possibly ever make its investors money, unless they take all the money of all the taxi companies, and all their drivers as well (so he’s not kidding about wanting driverless taxies). They’re lying to the cities, the drivers, their passengers, and insurance companies. They’ve used illegal tactics in practically every city they’ve tried to do business in, and then they say it’s the legitimate, existing businesses that are evil?! A real piece of work.

  • Whatever

    I guess any taxi dispatcher can comment on this site..

  • John Kane

    Maybe the “asshole” is the CEO who works for hedge fund investors while he demonizes regular working class men and women?

  • elbowman

    @Taylor_Soper:disqus…Once again, your cut/paste a PR release method of journalism gets you screen inches, but is shy on any real journalism. Read something from a real journalist that researches the facts, rather than just performs a cut/paste and calls it a story. Check out PandoDaily and Ted Rall, http://pando.com/2014/05/29/fact-checking-ubers-claims-about-driver-income-shockingly-theyre-not-true/.

    CEO spouts false statements. A real journalist would verify those statements, rather than just repeat them. Ted Rall – 2 Taylor Soper – 0.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Taylor Soper, boy reporter:

    • balls187

      > If Kalanick sounds a little George W. Bush-y with his “gonna smoke ‘em out” trash-talking, he’s downright Dick Cheney on WMDs when it comes to chatting up the dogs of taxi warfare.

      Mmm, got to love that quality piece of journalism.

      Stop being a dickhead; comment about the article and not the authors.

  • pitbullstew

    the captain of the Titanic didnt slow down much either, and we all know how that one turned out right?

  • Alex

    I just came from Amsterdam where I got a great idea: UBER XXX. No prostitution ! LOVE SHARING for donations only. No pimps ! Direct contact with customers using phone app. UBER XXX will take only 20% cut instead of usual 50%. Both customers and prostitutes will be objectively rated. Who the f… needs law enforcers and regulators ? And as far as service exchange: it’s my place or your place or may be airbnb ?

    • Guest

      That’s disgusting and you’re a disgusting man. Stop trafficking in women at once.

      • Alex

        I am glad that you like UBER’s idea !!! That is the level of legality they are following. There is no innovation in UBER’s app., except rip off of customers and poor drivers !! They are FRAUD

        • Guest

          That’s not Uber’s idea — that’s your idea. You are disgusting for trafficking women. Don’t drag Uber down with you.

          • Alex

            I think you simply did not get my point! Trafficking under presence of public demand is UBER and LYFT goal. They are BSing public for a sake of self prophesy for huge profit. Braking all kind of safety and insurance laws does not justifies there “INNOVATIONS”

          • Guest

            Please return all the women you have trafficked to fund this despicable service you shamefully call “UBER XXX.” Your behaviour is disgusting and I strongly disapprove of it.

          • Alex

            Another Idea : UBER DUMB ASS, you are fist customer!

      • Kary

        It’s a joke. He’s basically taking Uber’s argument that “we’re legal because we have an app” and applying it to another area. You could do the same with drugs. Have an app where for a fee you could tell people where they could “find” illegal drugs.

        • Alex

          Kart, man you’ve got it. That is exactly my message. UBER and LYFT and SideCar and others are covering their fraud under sentiment of “better taxi”.
          No question that taxi industry should look more like Yellow Cab of Ft. Lauderdale then Yellow Cab of Pittsburgh, but not at expense of general public, safety and ” uninsured funds” that will be depleted if regulators will not stop them NOW.

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        UberXXX is not “trafficking in women” any more than UberX is running a taxi service. Using UberX’s terms of service as a starting point, this is what the TOS for UberXXX looks like:

        THE COMPANY DOES NOT PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES SEX SERVICES, AND THE COMPANY IS NOT A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER PIMP. IT IS UP TO THE THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER SEXUAL SERVICER, DRIVER PROSTITUTE OR VEHICLE OPERATOR HO TO OFFER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES SEX WHICH MAY BE SCHEDULED THROUGH USE OF THE APPLICATION OR SERVICE. THE COMPANY OFFERS INFORMATION AND A METHOD TO OBTAIN SUCH THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BOOTY CALLS, BUT DOES NOT AND DOES NOT INTEND TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BOOM BOOM OR ACT IN ANY WAY AS A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER SEX TRAFFICKER, AND HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES NAUGHTY ACTS PROVIDED TO YOU BY SUCH THIRD PARTIES.

        • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

          The service will be called UberPIMP.
          These services will be fully insured with Excess Liability Policy in case the ho’s Personal Prostitution Policy denies a claim for STDs.
          Another service, UberCRACK, will be rolled out soon thereafter.

          • Alex

            Now we got a team! Kyle will be our political liaison, ClaimAdjuster will be in charge of our legal dpt., Just Aguy will be our new product VP and I (Alex) will go on to raze money from hedge funds or supporters like Emanuel, Senators from Florida, actors like Kutcher etc.
            The Kalanick’s family would say: What a country !!!

          • UnderSerf

            HEY man, UberPOT was already here! UberSmack is rolling out as we speak, everything is legal as long as it’s got an app! Republicants and lickspittle TPers will be lining up to defend the rights of our startups to engage in any profit-making venture they desire. I hear the new sex-slave & kiddie porn apps have similar ToSs as Uber. The model could even work to bypass anti-abortion laws. Think about it…

        • Guest

          You are an utter disgrace for writing the terms for “Uber XXX.” I completely disapprove of this service and I insist that you discontinue it and that you immediately return all trafficked women to their places of origin.

          Honestly, the exploitation of women is inexcusable. Doing so just to try and win a GeekWire argument is completely unacceptable.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            “NO! noed the no-bros of noland”

          • Guest

            Trafficking in women is a serious crime. Please post your name and address. The authorities will be notified.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Laugh. I guess you’d better arrest them, then!

            The Hos are independent contractors. UberXXX does not engage in “trafficking in women”.

  • pitbullstew

    You’re not fooling us, Uber! 8 reasons why the “sharing economy” is all about corporate greed

    Or, how to make money for Silicon Valley venture capitalists while pretending to espouse progressive ideals
    ANDREW LEONARD

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/17/youre_not_fooling_us_uber_8_reasons_why_the_sharing_economy_is_all_about_corporate_greed/

  • pitbullstew

    uber/lyft drivers are dupes

  • foulkeyu

    Let’s say I’m riding in an UberX driven by a guy with little money and either no insurance or only insurance that covers personal driving. An accident occurs that’s the driver’s fault and I’m injured severely. Am I out of luck, whereas if I was in a licensed cab, I know they’d have at least a million dollars of coverage? Honest question here with no agenda.

    • Kary

      Just my opinions, but I think Uber now has coverage for the passengers. If not, it’s obviously better to have insurance, but I could see some basis for a claim against Uber and even their executives. Whether that would succeed is another matter.

      More at risk is the driver. If they were at fault they might not get their car repaired or have their medical expenses covered (unless Labor & Industries would pay, which I think they might–even if Uber isn’t paying L&I). I’m not if the other driver is at fault but uninsured, they might also have issues being covered by their own uninsured/underinsured policy.

      • Mike M

        Here’s the deal… Once your’e in an Uber/Lyft car, you are NOT insured by the personal coverage of the driver. Of course you can be an asshat and commit fraud along with your driver, but YOU WILL BE COMMITTING TO FRAUD. Your only hope is the “Excess Liability” policy that Uber/Lyft has. That policy is written to where Uber/Lyft has a decision if they are liable or not. If it is decided that you are not covered, then you can only enter into something called “legal arbitration”- no suing the company for the accident, no trial, no judge, since you signed off your constitutional rights in the app agreement! The driver has no coverage whatsoever, so he will probably commit the fraud by default….. which says something about the companies structure…. “All Uber rides are backed by the driver’s insurance policy”,… as written on the UBER website! LIARS. Ask Sophia Liu’s family.

        • UnderSerf

          People really don’t GET insurance. An acquaintance of mine got plowed into by a forklift driving down the street/ There is NO such thing as forklift insurance for operating it on a public street, so she had to go after the assets of the company. But all the LLC had to do is file bankruptcy, and my acquaintance spent a decade on State care being ignored in a convalescent home. Uber can and will file their way out of ANY social responsibility. The way our society is run, we should be mandated to carry personal insurance, so taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for every idiot who cuts corners and makes a buck doing it…