Back when Travis Kalanick quit Donald Trump’s advisory committee after people started boycotting Uber because of it, I remember a lot of people criticising those who called for him to quit, saying that Donald Trump needed al the “sensible” people he could get to be around him giving him advise.
I wonder what they all think now, because feels like a day can’t go by without hearing some more noxious news about the toxic work culture over at Uber.
Recode.net just uncovered a 2013 email from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick that sounds more like something you’d expect from a bunch of teenage dude-bros in an American frat than the adult CEO of a global company. It lays out the rules for a company celebration to be held in Miami, and it includes detailed instructions on puking etiquette, which coworkers you may or may not sleep with (a bit more on this later), rules about throwing kegs off of roofs, and some general insults to Miami’s public transport system.
The letter included such nuggets of wisdom as:
“There will be a $200 puke charge for any public displays on the Shore Club premises. Shore Club will be required to send pictures as proof.”
“Do not throw large kegs off of tall buildings. Please talk to [former Uber software engineer] Ryan McKillen and [current director of engineering] Amos Barreto for specific insights on this topic.”
“We do not have a budget to bail anyone out of jail. Don’t be that guy. #CLM.” (CLM apparently means “career limiting move”).
He went on to say that Miami’s public transport “sucks ass” and that everyone should pitch Uber to everyone they meet while on the trip.
But here’s my personal favourite bit from the email:
“Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic ‘YES! I will have sex with you’ AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML.”
One small thing: what he says is correct: in work situations, these are two things you absolutely must make sure of when making romantic or sexual advances towards a person. They have to clearly consent to it, and they shouldn’t be in your chain of command, meaning neither of you should be able to influence or affect the other person’s day-to-day work, promotions, salaries or any other things related to their work.
Is it a bit gross that Kalanick made references to how sad he is that he can’t have sex with anybody on this trip because he’s everyone’s boss? Yes. Would it be uncomfortable for anyone who isn’t an alcoholic frat boy to receive an email like that from their boss? I’m saying yes.
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