Ten thousand London taxi drivers are planning a strike next month to protest the rise of Uber, the app that lets private drivers charge for rides, reports Bloomberg.
Protests and controversies are nothing new to Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick. He faces what he calls “protectionist schemes” in nearly every city where Uber launches, he said in an interview with the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw.
But Kalanick can handle the pressure. Those who know him say he’s a driven executive whose intensity can seem off-putting. Or, as one entrepreneur who has worked with him told us, “Travis is ego personified.” Personalities like that can create great businesses, especially when they are taking on big established industries, like taxis.
Kalanick describes himself to the Financial Times this way:
“I’m a natural born trust-buster,” he says of his mission to smash the taxi cartels. “That’s probably the best way to put it.”
The antagonism goes both ways. Uber has been accused of some less-than-nice competitive tactics, too, such as surge pricing, where it charges more when the demand for rides is high such as during bad weather. Or when it admitted that its employees repeatedly called and canceled rides from a rival car service in New York to obtain information on that service’s drivers, trying to poach them.
Kalanick’s competitive drive isn’t limited to his business, either. It also goes for things like video games.
“If somebody gives me a casual game and says, ‘OK, here’s the world record,’ I’ll just go until I’m there. … At the peak, I was number seven in the country on Angry Birds.”
His latest “guilty pleasure” is Candy Crush Saga, he says, where he has reached level 173, known as one of the ridiculously hard levels of the popular, addictive game.