Fast Company recently published a new article featuring Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
The profile recounts his work ethic and willingness to help startups he liked, sometimes by connecting entrepreneurs with up to 45 angel investors in one week and investing in the startup himself.
Kalanick also hosted intimate meetings of the minds for young people in tech who made it through the dotcom bubble burst.
Fast Company reveals as many as 15 people once visited Kalanick’s home — fondly nicknamed the “Jam Pad” — to hash out business ideas.
Well-known public speakers and entrepreneurs Gary Vaynerchuk and Aaron Levie, co-founder of the cloud content managing service Box, ate Kalanick’s food, drank his booze, and played his Nintendo Wii while brainstorming. Visitors were even welcome to crash on his couch, though reports of the entrepreneurs playing Wii Tennis until early hours of the morning suggest that Jam Pad sessions were not intended for sleep.
Kalanick’s house was also the meeting location for a critical discussion on what Uber’s future was going to look like. Of course, back in 2010 Uber was called Ubercab, and the startup consisted of only four employees working from a 10-by-10-foot space.
Then-CEO Ryan Graves informed Kalanick via a tweet that the entire Ubercab team would meet at the Jam Pad.
When the team met, they excitedly debated what Ubercab’s brand should look like. One person said it should be extravagant and roll out services on aeroplanes and helicopters. Another suggested promoting the company with pictures of attractive women at nightclubs.
But Kalanick had a larger vision for the company. Why couldn’t people have a service that is both luxurious and economical?
“If Uber is lower-priced, then more people will want it,” he told Fast Company. “And if more people want it and can afford it, then you have more cars on the road. And if you have more cars on the road, then your pickup times are lower, your reliability is better. The lower-cost product ends up being more luxurious than the high-end one.”
Kalanick was formally named Uber’s CEO later that year.
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