19 quotes that illustrate the unrelenting genius of Uber's controversial billionaire CEO Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick(AP Photo/Paul Sakluma, File)Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick arrives at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Uber launched in San Francisco five years ago this month.

At the time, it was a small startup called UberCab. Today, Uber is a global company that could be worth as much as $US50 billion.

At the helm of the company is Travis Kalanick, Uber’s controversial CEO and cofounder. Kalanick can credit his successes to his relentlessness, his competitive spirit, and his unwillingness to negotiate.

Some of his more memorable quotes illustrate Kalanick’s thinking, which have ultimately led him to build one of the most valuable privately held tech companies in the world.

On digging in your heels: 'Stand by your principles and be comfortable with confrontation. So few people are, so when the people with the red tape come, it becomes a negotiation.'

On politics: 'My politics are: I'm a trustbuster. Very focused. And yeah, I'm pro-efficiency. I want the most economic activity at the lowest price possible. It's good for everybody, it's not red or blue.'

On his controversial reputation: 'Look, I'm a passionate entrepreneur. I'm like fire and brimstone sometimes. And so there are times when I'll go -- I'll get too into the weeds and too into the debate, because I'm so passionate about it.'

On Ayn Rand and 'Atlas Shrugged': 'I like the book. Do you have a problem with that? … I just think it's a great story of somebody who stood up for what they believe in.'

On dealing with a competitor: 'We knew that Lyft was going to raise a ton of money. And we are going (to their investors), 'Just so you know, we're going to be fund-raising after this, so before you decide whether you want to invest in them, just make sure you know that we are going to be fund-raising immediately after.' '

On Uber as a service: 'Uber is efficiency with elegance on top. That's why I buy an iPhone instead of an average cell phone, why I go to a nice restaurant and pay a little bit more. It's for the experience.'

On his favourite founding father, Alexander Hamilton: 'He was probably America's first capitalist.'

On Uber as a political entity: 'What we maybe should've realised sooner was that we are running a political campaign and the candidate is Uber.'

On the government regulating Uber: 'We're totally legal, like totally legal, and the government is telling us to shut down. And you can either do what they say or you can fight for what you believe.'

On failure: 'It was a big momentum deal, so when the bottom comes out from under it, you have to go back to the well and start the whole thing.'

On his unwillingness to compromise: 'If you don't agree with the core principles, which are the premise of that compromise, then you have to have what I call principled confrontation. And so that is the thing that we do that I think can rub some people the wrong way.'

On Uber's controversial surge pricing model: 'You want supply to always be full, and you use price to basically either bring more supply on or get more supply off, or get more demand in the system or get some demand out. It's classic Econ 101.'

On handling his company's hockey-stick growth: 'I have a list of the hardest, most challenging problems that our company needs to solve and I start at the top and work my way down. And I have a list of the coolest most fascinating things that we can invent and I start at the top of the list and I work my way down.'

On what sets Uber apart from the competition: 'We have two turbines in our company: One is engineering, and the other is operations. And so our business people are on equal footing with our engineering and technology culture. Cars are moving because of what we do, so there's an imperative to go beyond just the technology.'

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