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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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