Today Uber chief Travis Kalanick issued a bold statement detailing exactly how he plans to turn Uber into “a smarter and more humble company.”
Kidding. Of course he didn’t.
Today the famously combative CEO announced a second $1.2 billion funding round, valuing the transportation company at a massive $40 billion. And buried within that announcement, Kalanick acknowledged his company’s recent avalanche of negative press with an indirect promise to turn things around. Here’s the passage everyone and their mother will cite for the next few days:
Fortunately, taking swift action is where Uber shines, and we will be making changes in the months ahead. Done right, it will lead to a smarter and more humble company that sets new standards in data privacy…
Unfortunately, we still don’t know exactly how Uber plans to pull this off. We know one of Uber’s general managers was disciplined for violating the privacy of one or more users, but we have no idea how Uber, specifically, took action.
The same goes for Uber senior vice president Emil Michael. Aside from a very public slap on the wrist, it’s unclear whether Uber has done anything to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.
The only thing we do know, vaguely, is how Uber plans to set “new standards in data privacy.” Two weeks ago the company alerted users of its plan to strengthen its privacy practices, and that plan includes the hiring of a purported data privacy expert to “conduct an in-depth review and assessment of [Uber’s] existing data privacy program.”
Aside from that, we’re stuck waiting for Uber to share more details. We’ve reached out to Uber for more, but so far there’s no indication that the company plans to break its silence on this sensitive issue.
And now we’re back where we started. Can Kalanick turn Uber into a “more humble company?” We have no idea, but from the looks of it, the company at least plans to throw money at the problem. That’s something.
For more, here’s a fuller version of Kalanick’s statement on the matter, released today:
This kind of growth has also come with significant growing pains. The events of the recent weeks have shown us that we also need to invest in internal growth and change. Acknowledging mistakes and learning from them are the first steps. We are collaborating across the company and seeking counsel from those who have gone through similar challenges to allow us to refine and change where needed.
Fortunately, taking swift action is where Uber shines, and we will be making changes in the months ahead. Done right, it will lead to a smarter and more humble company that sets new standards in data privacy, gives back more to the cities we serve and defines and refines our company culture effectively.
We have an interesting journey ahead and I’d like to thank all of the riders, drivers and Uber employees who have made it possible to get this far. I’m inspired and energized every day by the work we do, the people in our community we serve and the impact we can have in bringing positive change to cities around the world.