Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, talks about his bumpy-yet-incredible entrepreneurial journey to the top. He shares some valuable insights about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, how to deal with investors in the journey, and gets surprisingly candid about the challenges Uber faced as it grew from city to city. What started with a simple word-of-mouth marketing, Uber is now spread over 500 cities worldwide.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Try, Try, and Try Again:
    Travis was sued for $250B and he found a way to make $10M off it! When situations get tough, keeping cool and getting things done is important. According to Travis, persistence is the most powerful trait of a successful entrepreneur.
  2. Funding is Not the Ultimate Goal:
    The ultimate goal for any business should be to build a company and reel in customers. Travis points out that a lot of entrepreneurs, in the initial phase, mistake funding for success. VCs attack weakness! He strongly advises against giving early investors pre-emptive rights. It is better to go through the full process because it is faster and more rewarding.
  3. Don’t Fake It and Keep Going:
    An entrepreneur’s honesty goes a long way in pitching their business to a venture capitalist. Travis stresses on the fact that ‘authenticity pays dividends’ and an entrepreneur succeeds by ‘hustling’ through setbacks to get things done.

    Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 00:44 – Travis talked about his association with Scour Inc, initial ventures, angel investing, and stressed that challenges sharpen an entrepreneur
  • 02:58 – Travis shared some cool facts about himself, including selling knives worth $15K to $20K, being sued for $250B, selling a company in a courtroom, and having 3 billionaires on his board
  • 05:43 – Pre-emption is a bad decision for any entrepreneur
  • 07:44 – When in a scary situation, such as running out of money, it is important to not fret but hussle and keep going
  • 08:10 – Funding should not be a measure of success, neither the goal of any company. The goal is to build a company, get customers, and grow
  • 08:55 – Was with his partner Garrett in Paris when the idea of Uber came up
  • 10:11 – Travis talked about the initial process of booking an Uber cab and how it grew from one city to another
  • 12:22 – Surge pricing is not evil. More cars come out on the road when prices rise. That is the key to make a reliable transportation system
  • 15:08 – Uber gives a steady cash flow to drivers and they have gone from having 1 car to 50 cars
  • 17:33 – Uber launched in DC and was accused of operating illegally in the state. Travis clarified that the app has operated legally everywhere, including DC
  • 19:38 – Government has to realize that the new changes in technology will always overcome the old and politicians cannot protect that


Co-Founder Uber

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