Uber co-founder: What went wrong? We didn’t listen

Uber co-founder Garrett Camp on Tuesday opened up about recent scandals at the ride-hailing company that have left him “upset and deeply reflective.”

Camp, who sits on Uber’s board, blamed the company’s woes — which include allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct that have led to two investigations, a mass exodus of top executives and CEO Travis Kalanick taking a leave of absence — on an obsession with growth and a failure to listen.

“A friend recently asked me, ‘What went wrong?'” Camp wrote in a blog post, “and the answer is that we had not listened well enough to those who got us here… our team and especially our drivers. In a highly competitive market it is easy to become obsessed with growth, instead of taking the time to ensure you’re on the right path.”

Camp’s post came on the same day that Uber rolled out a tool to let passengers tip through the app — a concession to drivers who have been demanding such a feature for years, and part of Uber’s effort to fix its troubled relationship with the people who make the ride-hailing service function.

All companies have growing pains, Camp wrote, but Uber’s were super-sized because the startup grew so fast — ballooning from zero to a $70 billion giant in eight years.

“Over the years we have neglected parts of our culture as we have focused on growth,” he wrote. “We have failed to build some of the systems that every company needs to scale successfully. But what matters now is that we know what needs to be changed. We must update our core values, listen better to employees and riders, and prioritize our drivers.”

Camp’s post suggested confidence that Uber is here to stay, despite the skeptics speculating over when the company is going to implode.

“People love the product itself,” he wrote, “and they see companies like Uber as the future.”

But he acknowledged a need to change, and hold the company to a higher standard. Uber has formed a new executive leadership team and is recruiting new directors and executives, he wrote.

Camp ended on a positive note — reminding readers that Uber has changed the face of transportation as we know it. And there’s still more to be done, he wrote.

“I believe that our business can have 10x the impact it has today — once we have additional leadership and training in place, and evolve our culture to be more inclusive and respectful,” Camp wrote. “We should still push hard for what we believe in, and be much more collaborative going forward.”

Photo: This file photo taken on March 10, 2016 shows a man checking a vehicle at an Uber ‘Work On Demand’ recruitment event in Los Angeles. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)




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