Making the bold proclamation yesterday that within the next five years he’d like to see “every car Ubered,” the CEO of the app-delivered car service told a traffic-snarling crowd at Dreamforce 2015 in San Francisco about his plans for the company.
If every car on San Francisco’s roads worked for Uber, there’d be no traffic jams, said Travis Kalanick in answer to questions from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. The assertion seemed especially relevant, considering sales and marketing professionals attending the Salesforce user conference who hadn’t waited more than an hour to see the fuchsia-based multi-colored sock-wearing CEO in person at the Yerba Buena Theater were sitting in bean bags on what would normally be a busy thoroughfare. The overflow crowd not sitting on Howard Street watched large monitors while standing on pedestrian bridges and staring at the rest of the crowd that was atop vacuumed, artificial turf.
Benioff asked Kalanick if turning every car in San Francisco and as many as possible in other cities into Uber-serving vehicles was all he planned.
“I think that’s more than enough,” Kalanick responded.
“That’s so funny,” said attendee Denise Durgin, Host Hotels and Resorts’ senior director of hotel sales strategy asset management. “So genuine.”
Kalanick said Uber succeeded because it found a market niche that disrupted a taxi system that was broken and not working for drivers or passengers. The CEO born in 1976 used used puns like “that’s how we roll” and “that’s our jam” to describe company philosophies, repeatedly citing Uber’s mission to provide reliable transportation that’s cheaper for users than owning a car.
Car owners providing the rides are often doing so to fill “gaps” in income left by the drivers’ “normal” jobs, Kalanick says. He believes Uber drivers like working for the transportation service because they earn more than they would driving taxis and they have flexible hours.
At 10:15 on Wednesday night, an Uber driver said he’d like drivers to unionize because he works full-time and can’t make ends meet. He does, however, like his flexible schedule of 3 to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday. The driver, who picked up his passenger faster than the promised one-minute arrival time, didn’t mention whether he liked the heat-mapping feature Uber offers drivers to show unmet user demand.
“Fifteen minutes is too long,” Kalanick said.
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